Whereas its bid for an HGTV makeover in downtown fell brief, Belton has continued to make its personal strides is brushing up its look and pushing for improvement.
Section three of the Rail Path was accomplished earlier this yr and companies are establishing store alongside the trail, one thing councilman Jim Shiny credit – at the very least partially – to the rise in foot visitors.
“We’ve acquired two different new companies coming into city, and I believe a few of it might be as a result of path,” Shiny mentioned. “These companies are situated on the path, the place persons are going to must stroll by them.
“There’s one other espresso store and sandwich store coming nearer to the sq. and, on the far finish of the strolling path, a gaggle has carried out a revitalization of what was a Bantam Chef.”
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The Rail Path has been a piece in progress for years, and Shiny provides the vast majority of the credit score to the Belton Alliance. This venture wouldn’t have been one thing the city went after even eight years in the past when he joined council, Shiny mentioned.
The path’s ribbon slicing was held in Might 2018 and progress has hit a stride within the final 18 months or so, regardless of the pandemic. The truth is, Belton Alliance vp Gene Jameson mentioned the pandemic has doubtless elevated use of the path.
“Each time I journey by the path, there’s a number of individuals strolling on it,” Jameson mentioned. “I infrequently go by and it’s empty, so I do know it’s elevated foot visitors, hopefully health of the individuals and accessibility and a technique to get out and about — particularly throughout a pandemic.”
He’s hopeful the behavior has been fashioned for households to proceed to make use of the path even when COVID-19 is nothing however a reminiscence. His household has made loads journeys together with his daughter’s bike in tow, so she has a secure place to journey.
The path passes by Shiny’s ice cream parlor and sandwich store, which might all the time sweeten the deal for a visit to Belton.
“I inform individuals, ‘Don’t really feel responsible about having a milkshake when you’re on the path strolling with it,’” Shiny mentioned with amusing.
Grants, donations prime $400K for path
Majority of funding for the path has come from grants, Belton Alliance rapid previous president Greg Tysl mentioned. Anderson County has chipped in and the town has assisted with among the charges when land needed to be surveyed and donated.
“The town gave I believe lower than $5,000-$10,000, and that was a few of their gross sales tax cash,” Tysl mentioned. “However you’re taking a look at, when it comes to whole grants, in all probability someplace between $250,000-$300,000, and you then had in variety presents of $150,000. The museum board gave us among the land that the railroad had given to them, too.”
The Timken and WebbCraft Foundations have been the most important donors, Tysel mentioned, although lots of the alliance’s members work at corporations which have donated time, expertise and gear towards the path’s building as effectively.
Their cash and efforts are already paying off, he mentioned, noting a few companies have targeted efforts alongside the path.
“We had been simply hoping to get extra foot visitors in downtown Belton and hopefully, with that, we might begin to get extra enterprise in downtown as effectively.”
Jameson is hopeful the path will entice one other restaurant or two, providing Belton residents an evening out choice that doesn’t require driving to Greenville or Anderson. Not solely would it not hold extra money within the city, it might assist entice guests as effectively, he mentioned.
“I do know we’re attempting to get a sit-down restaurant so we are able to have a greater diversity of cuisines,” Jameson mentioned. “We’d like to see one thing with possibly a contented hour, a spot to observe the sport or have a date night time that provides us extra choices and makes use of the additional foot visitors we’ve seen in latest months.”
Caitlin Herrington, native reporter and lover of alliteration, covers authorities, development and all issues Anderson. Comply with her on Twitter @GoldenCornerCat.