LANCASTER, S.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Lancaster City leaders and people who live in the area are celebrating the recent opening of a new public greenway, the first ever in the city.

The overall goal of the Lindsay Pettus Greenway is to build the project in phases. Phase one was completed in 2020 and once the project reaches the finish line it will connect neighborhoods to the downtown area.

“It’s very comfortable. Not a fast pace town to live in,” said President of the greenway, Mark Strickland.

While people who call Lancaster home like a slower lifestyle, there is always a need to get out and about and enjoy what nature has to offer. It’s something you can’t find in a downtown setting.

“There was a major need in Lancaster, especially in the City of Lancaster, for a place for people to go out and do exercise and just get out and enjoy nature, see the landscape and the things we have to offer here with Gills Creek,” said Strickland.

Planning for the two miles of greenway as part of phase one started in 2016, with the ribbon cut in early 2020. Land acquisition is often the most difficult part for any city looking to expand greenway, but leaders at the City of Lancaster had a plan in place.

“We had these flood plains in the city, we wanted to use those a way that people could enhance their lives,” said Mayor Alston DeVenny.

The enhancements that make up the greenway are a bit unique. There is a boardwalk-type feature towards the end of the trail, which leads to a mural under a bridge that was painted by the arts council.

Despite only being a little more than two years old the greenway has already attracted visitors from outside the city. It’s a welcome sight for leaders of the project who originally just wanted to connect neighbors to the city.

“I think the favorite part for me is walking with family, walking with friends. Being able to talk and get some exercise,” said Mayor DeVenny.

The goal is for the greenway to have more than 6 miles of trail. Mayor DeVenny says they are just about ready to start phase two of the project.