SUMTER, S.C. — Walkers and bicyclists in Sumter now have a new spot to check out.
The Shot Pouch Greenway is officially open after Thursday's ribbon cutting.
"We’ve been waiting for this day for a while," Sumter Mayor David Merchant shared.
Merchant says the greenway has been 10 years in the making. Through money from the 2014 penny sales tax along with state and private funds, that day has finally come.
"We want to get people in Sumter outside to get them active, walking, biking, running," Jason Stoddard, project manager, explained. "We just think it’s good for the health of the community and we want to provide more opportunities for the people that live in Sumter."
Like Sumter resident Judy Lewis, who came with her friend Pat Hunt to walk the trail.
"It’s wonderful. I used to live way out of town and course they didn’t have this at the time, but it was hard to find a good place that was interesting and pretty and all to walk," Lewis said. "And I love it that the area is wide enough to walk on with a friend or two or three people. You’ve got all this space to walk."
"The bikers can do what they want to do, the runners can do what they want to do, and we can all do it together," Hunt continued.
The trail is 3.1 miles long, starting at Swan Lake Iris Gardens and stretching all the way to Dillon Park.
"There’s a little bit of everything. You’ve got some areas that are more park-like, some that are more woods-like and some that are more urban," Stoddard explained. "You’d be surprised even in the heart of a city like Sumter, I’ve seen deer, bobcat, otter, hawks, owls, I mean there’s a lot of wildlife, so you actually kind of get this nature feel right in the heart of Sumter."
A nature path for people like Pat Blackwell and Larry Palmer to enjoy.
"I love it! I love it," Palmer said. "I love just being out."
Blackwell added, "I’m pretty athletic myself. I play at the tennis center and I run, so this is wonderful!"
For Stoddard, Thursday’s ribbon cutting didn’t only mark the project’s completion.
"It one ways it’s the end, but I don't see it as the end. It’s just gonna be a continuing effort and passion," Stoddard told me. "Maybe in the future there’s, you know, connections to other parks, neighborhoods, goods and services."
Until then, residents can travel the path every day from dawn to dusk.
According to city officials, this is just the first phase of the greenway, which they hope will eventually extend to connect other parts of the city.