$62,500 Secured for Bike Park at The Rail Yard

PAL, Coalition for Active Youth Awarded Grant for Bike Pad

Monday, July 9, 2018 1:15 pm

by Laura Ringo

Foundations for the Carolina’s Longleaf Fund Seeds of Hope program announced a $62,500 grant to Partners for Active Living and Coalition for Active Youth for the next phase of The Rail Yard. This phase will include the creation of a bicycle park.

Professionally-designed to accommodate riders of all skill levels, this feature will include elements of mountain biking, BMX, flow riding and skills riding. The bike park is an innovative project and encourages health, wellness and vibrancy among Spartanburg's youth.

Outdoor recreation, and particularly biking, has few socioeconomic boundaries and supports Spartanburg's designation of a playful city and a bike town.

There is a growing interest in bicycle parks in the U.S., and Spartanburg is no different. According to People for Bikes, "BMX is important to the future of the U.S. bike industry. It appeals to kids, has a low cost, and is suitable for both rural and urban environments. Additionally, studies have shown that involvement in BMX acts as a "gateway sport," often the first step to a lifetime of interest in cycling. Increasing the number of parks that allow BMX riding will guarantee riders a legal, safe, and fun place to practice and play."

The bike feature's target population is youth ranging from elementary school to young adult. Body Mass Index rates among children and youth increase with age. Having inviting opportunities for activity will spur a group that is limited in its opportunities for activity.

“In partnership with the Coalition for Active Youth, Partners for Active Living is thrilled to add another unique park component to The Rail Yard. Throughout The Rail Yard project, we have solicited significant community input to ensure that we are adding what is needed for recreation in our community,” said Laura Ringo, executive director of Partners for Active Living. “We are very grateful for this funding and what it will provide Spartanburg.”

“The Coalition for Active Youth has been advocating for a bicycle park three years and recently combined efforts with Partners for Active Living to include the facility as part of The Rail Yard. This is collaboration at its finest,” said Coalition representative Lamar Baehr. “While the grant funding is incredibly generous, there is still a need to engage the community to secure private and public funding to move us to the finish line. We are thrilled this is becoming a reality and appreciate the support thus far of many to make it happen”

A public ribbon cutting for the Panthers Play 60, a major component of the park, will be Wednesday, July 25 at 11:00 am.

In addition, residents can contribute financially by providing funding for trees throughout the park. These come with dedication plaques. To order a tree, residents can visit www.active-living.org/productsforsale

About The Rail Yard: Partners for Active Living has supported the improvement of the Mary Black Foundation Rail Trail since it opened in 2006. When we surveyed trail users, PAL heard that the stretch of trail between Forest Avenue and Country Club Road was a bit uncomfortable because of the thick vegetation. In order to improve this section, PAL facilitated a lease agreement of seven acres of undeveloped land owned by Duke Energy. The City of Spartanburg currently holds the lease that allows the space to become community recreational space. A project that started as simply clearing out vegetation has turned into the creation of a $1.3MM park that PAL has developed with the City of Spartanburg. Over 90% of the funds raised have been private.

About Partners for Active Living: Partners for Active Living is a Spartanburg non-profit celebrating its 15th year. Partners for Active Living works in collaboration with Spartanburg city and county officials, local partners and national organizations to improve the health and vibrancy of its community.  

About Coalition for Active Youth: The Coalition for Active Youth are passionate advocates who champion adventurous active living projects. This group spearheaded the Hot Spot Skate Park with the City of Spartanburg and host the annual BrewFest to raise funds for this bicycle park. 


About Foundation for the Carolinas Longleaf Fund Seeds of Hope grant program: The "Seeds of Hope" grant program awards capital grants in select cities in North and South Carolina. Teaming together with strong nonprofit partners, Seeds of Hope grants aim to strengthen the character and achievement of children and youth, while encouraging communities to reach higher and create opportunities for a brighter future. The Longleaf Fund is an anonymous donor advised fund managed by Foundation For The Carolinas, the community foundation serving the greater Charlotte region.

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