The Legacy Trail
Sarasota County, Florida

Sunset Behind Dona Bay Bridge
Photo: Megan Donoghue
(click to enlarge)

Rainbow from the Trail
Photo: Darryl Lang

Start of 2017 Tour de Parks

Sunset From Dona Bay Bridge
Photo: Darryl Lang
Click to Enlarge

Birthday Celebration for US 41 Bridge - 5 Years Old!

Farmers Market Director Phil Pagano (left) and Sarasota City
Commissioner Suzanne Atwel (in pink) visit the FLT
tent at the Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market

It's a Gator on
The Trail!

Build It and They Will Come

A Video About The Legacy Trail Extension
by Joel Calabrese



Post-Irma Week Trails Recap
(Updated 9/16/17)

by Megan Donoghue
Trails Coordinator, Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources

I’ve been meaning to write this follow-up, but am just now getting around to it! Not much computer time this week, with spotty wi-fi, power and lots of trail work! I hope you all fared well through Irma.  I’m glad she’s gone!

So just to recap;

The Legacy Trail and Trailheads;

We worked a majority of the week removing trees that had fallen across The Legacy Trail.  There were a fair amount of them, which is not surprising!  The debris is off to the side of the trail for the grapple truck to run down and grab to bring to one central location. There are still a few trees leaning and some that have fallen in the ditch.  Our goal was to first run through to get the trail passable and safe.  We will continue to clean up the trail to mop up.  The blower went down the trail today, but I may have to hit the stubborn sections early next week.

McIntosh Parking lot (AKA Legacy trail Parking Lot) spur trail has been cleared of fallen Brazilian Pepper, but is still wet.

Nokomis Riverview Park is accessible, but we still need to do debris pick up, which will happen early next week.

Stoneybrook Nature Trail has been blown off, and trees trimmed and removed.

Venetian Waterway Park;  

The Venetian Waterway Park also had several decent size trees fall.  We’ve cleaned up a few along Golf Dr. on the west side.  There is still a Cedar that needs attention (with a barricade indicating), so use caution.

The spur trail to 41 behind Bellagio on the VWP west is closed.  A LARGE tree has fallen across the trail and WCIND will be tending to it. We hope to get it open soon.  The small gazebo in that same area was damaged in Irma.  The gazebo is marked with caution tape.  That area has some debris we will be tending to next week as well.  In addition to this, sections of the VWP west, mainly south of the circus bridge will be blow off early next week.

Please always use caution as we continue to clean up.  Be aware of debris and slow down when you see staff working on the trail.

Thank you all for being patient as we pull resources to get our parks and trails back in shape!!


LT Extension Supporters Celebrate Progress To Payne Park

by Roger Normand

Legacy Trail supporters celebrated a major step forward to extend the trail to Payne Park in downtown Sarasota. On August 29th the Board of County Commissioners unanimously endorsed twin resolutions for a two-phased approach to acquire the approximate 7.5 mile unused rail corridor from CSX Railroad and to construct the trail. The resolutions authorize the County Administrator to proceed with the acquisition of the rail corridor.

The resolutions come on the heels of the Trust for Public Land renegotiating the terms of an existing sale contract consistent with available County funds. Deputy County Administrator Jonathan Lewis, who will become County Administrator in January 2018 when current County Administrator Harmer departs to become city manager of Longboat Key, was a key participant in the final negotiations. The new contract retains nearly all the same terms, including a 14 percent discount to the appraised value of the corridor, but divides the cost with $7.9 million for Phase 1 due by December 2017 to purchase the 1.7 mile corridor to Ashton Road, and $30.1 million for Phase 2 due in 2019 for the remaining approximate 6 miles to Payne Park and Fruitville Road. The County had previously identified up to $8.6 million in its budget for Phase 1, with plans for a voter referendum in November 2018 to identify funds to pay for Phase 2.

It was not without some drama. Commissioner Detert asked to pull the two Legacy Trail extension proposals from the 40 items included on the Consent Agenda expected to be endorsed in a single motion without further discussion. She then suggested delaying the extension decision until the 2018 budget and revenue expectations are finalized in September. Commissioner Maio countered that “I want to see the Legacy Trail extension done” and could not foresee the September budget meeting undoing that effort. Commissioner Hines agreed, adding that the extension will provide “significant economic value.” “I don’t want to to lose momentum.”  Commissioner Moran noted that the agreement already provides the County an escape clause through November while they and TPL conduct the due diligence review (title search, survey, environmental assessment) on the property. The Commissioners asked for staff reports on the status on FL SUN Trail funding and a list of all federal and state grants that are available and which the County has pursued. Commissioner Hines concluded the discussion noting this is a huge financial undertaking for the County.  “The public needs to support this with more than just with tax dollars.”

The Friends of the Legacy Trail thank the Commissioners for their continued unanimous support for the extension. We emphatically agree to the need to seek state, federal and private funds, and have been directly involved with past County efforts to do so.  We have also been working with local private foundations, and have developed our own extension campaign to raise private funds. We and our partners will be ready to launch a broad fund raising campaign to support the extension once the county completes acquisition of Phase 1 in December. We are committed to help marshal public support for the November voter referendum.

In the meantime, all Legacy Trail enthusiasts can savor another victory in the goal to extend the Legacy Trail to downtown Sarasota.

Click here for the Herald Tribune editorial supporting the actions of the County Commissioners

The Legacy Trail – Laurel Road
Utility Relocation Begins

Artists rendering of future bridge over Laurel Road

The county started work on August 2 to relocate utilities where The Legacy Trail crosses Laurel Road.  This work is being done in preparation for building a Legacy Trail bridge over Laurel Road.

The utility relocation work is expected to last approximately three months.

The Legacy Trail intersection crossing Laurel Road will be closed, and trail users will be detoured to cross East of The Legacy Trail at Mission Valley Estates.

For questions, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at (941) 861-5000.

Megan Donoghue

Osprey Junction Trailhead to Be
Closed for One Year for Road Construction

Bay Street, which extends from Tamiami Trail to The Legacy Trail Osprey Junction Trailhead (see map), is going to be extended east, across the trail, to Honore Avenue.  The Osprey Junction Trailhead will be closed for construction starting August 2, 2017 and lasting approximately 12 months.

The Legacy Trail will remain open for the entire length of project.

Starting approx. 8/1/17 the port-o-let will be removed from OJT/Legacy Trail intersection. In addition to this, all signs, picnic areas, kiosk and water fountain within the project corridor will be moved or removed and stored until end of construction.

Pedestrian access from the existing Bay St. to the Legacy Trail will remain open but watch for signage as a new temporary access trail will be opened to the north of the existing access trail during road construction.

For questions regarding the Bay St. Extension Project, please contact Ferdie Barnard at; 941.225.7600

For questions regarding The Legacy Trail/Osprey Junction Trailhead, contact Megan Donoghue at; 941-861-5126

More info …

Repairing the Orange Safety Signs

Many thanks to Megan Donoghue, Jerry Droll, Darryl Lang, and Denise and Steve Jones for repairing the orange safety signs. The safety signs will be back on the Trail this week!

Photo by Darryl Lang

Sarasota County Has a New
Interactive Transportation Map
Includes Bike Lanes and Sidewalks

Sarasota County’s newly released multi-modal transportation map includes layers for viewing bus routes, bike lanes, or sidewalks.  It also includes automatic route-finding capabilities and gives trip times.  Thanks to the County for providing this useful tool.  Click here to check it out.


FREE Monthly Cycle Tours through the Everglades

Friends of the River of Grass Greenway (FROGG) has info available for on / off-road riding in the Everglades on your own or with organized group rides the second Sunday of each month.

First Ride: September 10 9:00 a.m. at McLeod Park in Everglades City. (Directions: proceed on SR 29 to US 41, continue along the Tamiami Trail through the Big Cypress National Preserve to H.P. Williams Roadside Park and return by the same route to Everglades City, for a total of 22 miles. For information:

New brochures are available for other Everglades rides and amenities / safety info along Tamiami Trail. Printed copies are available on request.  Contact Patricia Huff at

“It’s the Green Pumpkin!”
Sponsored by People for Trees, Inc.
Sunday, October 22, 2017

An organized scenic bicycle ride for cyclists to follow an on-road route of either 15, 35, or 65 miles that highlights North Port’s most natural settings and the parks that border the Myakkahatchee Creek with each route having its own color-coded road markings. This year’s ride will also offer a “Gravel Grinders” off-road route for mountain bike enthusiasts that will explore a portion of the Carlton Reserve.  More info …

Speakers Bureau

FLT volunteers give many presentations throughout the year to schools, homeowner associations, churches, businesses, clubs and others who would like to know more about The Legacy Trail.  Our lively presentation typically covers trail amenities, history, and the latest news on  efforts to extend the trail to Payne Park in downtown Sarasota.  The presentation can also be tailored to the unique interest and time available.  We arrive “fully equipped” at your location with laptop and projector, or we can load our presentation on your A/V equipment.

We are enthusiastic supporters of The Legacy Trail, and want to share our passion for this multi-use, non-motorized trail.  Help us build the broad community support for the next critical decision point – finding and committing the money necessary to acquire and build the trail extension.

Contact us to schedule a free presentation to your group.

Friends of The Legacy Trail, Inc. is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Sarasota County Department of Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources is not responsible for the content of hypertext links included in this web site.

Friends of The Legacy Trail