Easley Pursuing CDC Grant For Brushy Creek Greenway Project
Funds could help bring shared-use path project closer to fruition.
City officials are hoping to win federal grant funds that could help fund the Brushy Creek Greenway project.
“This is an unbelievable opportunity,” said Councilman Chris Mann, committee chairman.
The greenway project aims to connect downtown Easley to the new Easley High School campus via a shared-use path.
Jean Crowther of Alta Planning told members of the city's bicycle/pedestrian committee about the grant opportunity Thursday morning.
The Community Transportation Grant program is administered by the Center for Disease Control, Crowther said.
“This is a new federal grant opportunity,” Crowther said.
“It seems like a good opportunity for Easley,” she said, as this iteration of the grant focuses on smaller communities.
“They have $70 million total,” Crowther said. “They said they're expecting the average grant amount to be $2 million. It sounds like the grant amount will vary based on the size of the community.”
Communities with populations up to 500,000 people will be allowed to apply for the grant.
The grant is focused on addressing chronic diseases, including obesity, Crowther said.
“They're looking at infrastructure improvements, environmental improvements, policy changes,” Crowther said.
Infrastructure improvements should increase levels of physical activity within communities in order to attract grant funding, Crowther said.
“Building new physical activity facilities and improving access to physical activities,” Crowther said.
She said she believe the grant officials are looking for “communities that understand the big picture.”
“You can't just build a trail and that's going to fix your chronic diseases,” she said. “You have to have a bigger picture. I think Easley can make a great case for that.”
Other city efforts, including efforts to make Easley a “bike-friendly city” and a joint effort to connect Pickens, Easley and Liberty via bike trails will help Easley make its case to receive the funding, Crowther said.
“All of that is really important to show that this is not just a one-time effort,” Crowther said.
Mann said the city's efforts to help its employees stop smoking, as well as other anti-smoking initiatives, such as the ban in restaurants and city parks, could be appealing to those who award the grant.
“Those are things we've done to look at tobacco-free living,” Mann said.
Committee member Don Youngblood said the grant funding could help with the most difficult portion of the greenway project – tunneling under Highway 123.
“That's going to be the big hurdle with the Brushy Creek Greenway,” Youngblood said.
Officials are working on a letter of intent to submit to the CDC by Monday. The complete grant application is due by July 31.