CHESTER -- Wylie Park doesn't offer something for everyone yet, Chester leaders say.
Sure, the 48-acre city park sports a miniature golf course, a rugged, mile-long nature trail and a pool. But the park doesn't have a place where someone in a wheelchair can travel or where mothers with strollers can pace.
Officials hope that will change soon.
The city is pursuing a project that would create a quarter-mile concrete walking trail inside the park. The handicapped-accessible trail would snake through trees and feature a gazebo.
"That's kind of the missing link," said City Councilwoman Susan Kovas, chairwoman of the city's recreation committee. "You know, we have those other beautiful trails. But they're rocky and hard to walk on for somebody that was having difficulty walking or needed some kind of assistance. It would be real tough for them."
The trail is the brainchild of Jack Sink, the city's parks and recreation director. Sink said he got the idea for the trail about a month ago when he was considering resurfacing the park's nature trail.
Sink decided the nature trail was fine as it was, but the city could use a trail for its wheelchair-bound guests and those who might not be strong enough to walk the rough terrain of the other trail.
"It'd just kind of tie in with everything else that Wylie Park has to offer," Sink said. "It would give a benefit to ... part of the population that may not be able to enjoy it (the park) as much."
That group includes people such as Lee Carter, a wheelchair-bound Blackstock man and the former executive director of the S.C. Spinal Cord Injury Association.
"Anything that will be wheelchair accessible and safe for people with disabilities to be able to go out and enjoy," Carter said, "I think it's a benefit no matter what."
Carter uses a hand-pedaled cycle to travel on dirt roads.
"But that'd be nice to be able to utilize it to go around there, too," he said of cycling at the park.
The idea has become more than a walking trail. Sink envisions the short route including a gazebo where choral groups could hold concerts or couples could have outdoor weddings.
Sink said the idea even includes a fountain, which Dick Blair, the owner of a local swimming pool company, has offered to build for free if the city is willing to supply the fountain with electricity and water.
To pay for the project, the Chester City Council voted this week to pursue a grant from the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. The cost of the trail and the gazebo is $23,120. Should the city receive the grant, $4,624 of the overall price tag would come from city coffers. The grant would cover the rest.
The walking trail, Sink said, would "just kind of complete the whole complex."
Kovas called the trail project "very necessary."
"The big key is that it would be handicap accessible," she said. "I think it'll be something that the residents will really enjoy and hopefully take advantage of."