Big things are happening at the Doodle Trail Head


As some of you may have heard the City of Pickens has some exciting news in regards to the Doodle Trail Head. The City has been awarded several grants over the past year which are laying the financial foundation for this project. Currently our trail head is in desperate need of a face lift but at the same time we are mindful of preserving the legacy of the Pickens Railroad which has played a significant role in our City’s history. During the work at the Rail Depot the City intends on preserving and re-using any features or remnants of the old depot that might be uncovered.

Site History 

The 1.86 acre site was developed as a passenger train depot with railway yard and shipping warehouses as early as 1889. The City of Pickens purchased the facility in 2013 along with the 7.5 mile rail line. In 2015, the Doodle Trail, a multi-use asphalt trail, was constructed on the 7.5 mile rail line between the cities of Pickens and Easley. The 1.86 acre rail depot site currently sits idle waiting for cleanup and redevelopment into a trail head for the Doodle Trail. Research was conducted and we have found that there were warehouses on site that burnt down in the 1950s. In the 1960s a cinder-block building was constructed to do rail car maintenance. The site buildings, which are a considered a blight in the community, are contaminated with asbestos containing materials (ACM) and is perceived as unsafe due to the appearance of the dilapidated buildings and the perceived environmental stigma associated with the site. The roof and interior of the structure have declined to a point where they are becoming unstable and pose a safety and health risk to local residents and visitors to the Doodle Trail. Currently the dilapidated cinder-block building sits vacant and is a slum and blight property we wish to transform into the Pickens Doodle Park.

Funding Leveraged 

Several grants have been awarded to aid in the revitalization efforts happening at the trail head. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfield Clean-up Grant was awarded to the City to remove the lead and asbestos materials from the building. The South Carolina Recreational Trails Program awarded the City funding to extend the trail from the parking lot to run parallel the rail depot to allow access to Highway 8 and to make a safer connection to the Downtown in addition to a new South Carolina historical marker. The City is currently working with the SC Department of Transportation in creating additional wayfinding signage to direct users of the Doodle Trail to downtown. The South Carolina Department of Commerce awarded the City funding through the Community Development Block Grant Program for the demolition the rail depot building, the cement pads, and part of the wall along E. Cedar Rock Street. These three grants have given this project a total of $396,790 in award funding. To further leverage these significant awards, the City is applying for a 1 million dollar project through the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Grant that will be used to create the new Pickens Doodle Park. By incorporating everything into a 1 million dollar project, the City is trying to leverage some of the current grant funds with the ARC grant which will provide a better end product at a lower cost to the City. 

Goals of the overall Pickens Doodle Park project include: providing outdoor recreation to residents and visitors; attracting tourism and stimulating the regional economy; attracting and retaining employers and new businesses as well as their employees. Park facilities will include a Pickens Rail Depot replica, open air Farmers Market structure, ADA compliant restrooms, ADA accessible ramp down to Railroad Street, ADA compliant playground equipment, outdoor exercise equipment, and an informational kiosk just to name a few. **Attached is a sample rendering of the park but this is not the final design**


Work will begin on the Trail Head in the spring of 2017 with the start of the EPA Brownfield Grant Award to remove the hazardous materials from the building and the demolition of the rail depot using the CDBG Grant Award. After the demolition is completed the the extension of the trail to Highway 8 using the RTP Grant Award will take place, and finally the creation of the new park with the anticipated ARC Grant Award by May 2018. Please see event timeline below:   

ARC Pickens Doodle Trail project that incorporates the RTP & CDBG Components.

  • January 2017: Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Grant Application Submitted ($1M for full project)
  • May 2017: Bid Documents Released for (EPA Brownfield Grant) Asbestos Removal & (CDBG Grant) Demolition
  • June 2017: Bid Documents Released for the (RTP Grant) Trail Extension to Highway 8
  • June 2017: Asbestos Removal & Demolition of Railroad Building
  • July 2017: Expected ARC Notice on Grant Approval or not
  • July-December 2017: In-Kind Work by City & Partners 
  • August 2017: Trail Extension Work Begins
  • September 2017: Final Design & Bid Documents Completed for Pickens Doodle Park
  • December 2017: Construction Bids Received
  • January 2018: Construction Begins
  • May 2018: Pickens Doodle Park Completed