2017 Tour de Parks

TdP 2017 logo

Save the Date!
2017 Tour de Parks
Sunday, March 26, 2017

Friends of The Legacy Trail and the Sarasota Manatee Bicycle Club will once again be teaming up to organize this great bike ride next year.

The date for the 2017 Tour de Parks ride has been set for Sunday, March 26, 2017.

More information to follow

Bike Florida and The Best Volunteers Ever!

by Carla Martin

Last summer, Bike Florida offered us the opportunity to make $2100 to put to good use on the trail or towards the trail extension by offering us the opportunity to work some of the rest stops for their recent week-long “Surf and Turf” event April 9-15th here in the Sarasota Area.  The plan was for cyclists to start in Arcadia, ride to Sarasota, south to Venice, then Englewood, finally returning to Arcadia.

 Being optimistic, we chose to do 7 rest stops in 2 days.  Tuesday, April 12: Siesta Key Beach, Jungle Gardens, and Ken Thompson Park.  On Wednesday, April 13: Blackburn Point Park, Venice Trail Depot, Maxine Barrett Park and Manasota Beach.

 After only one email from Rita Miotti, Volunteer Coordinator, our wonderful volunteers answered our call and readily volunteered to work these positions.  There was not a single no show for the event!

 We started early in those mornings, lugging water and food, then had fun making PB&J sandwiches, cutting fruit and caring for enthusiastic cyclists until early afternoon.  Then packed it all up before heading home.  Rita reported that she received so many compliments on how helpful and friendly the volunteers were and the rest stop experience in general.

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Tuesday evening, Max Corley presented our Power Point Talk about The Legacy Trail to an audience of about 100 riders in Robarts Arena.  We also had an opportunity to have an info table during this event.  Another one was held at the Venice Depot next morning after riders had the opportunity to experience riding The Trail first hand.

 Along with having fun working together and chatting with cyclists, Bike Florida’s event provided our organization with a $2,100 donation as well as numerous new memberships and revenues from the sale of FLT logo items.  We collected 276 new petition signatures, almost all from out of town.  In addition, our involvement created incredible new excitement about The Legacy Trail!

 Many Thanks again to Rita Miotti and our Wonderful Volunteers!

Amid Stiff Competition, SW Coastal Trail Places 3rd

by Roger Normand

The Florida Greenways and Trails Council (FGTC) selected the The St. Johns River to the Sea Loop as the next regional trail for SUN Trail funds at an all-day conference in Tallahassee on March 30th.  This mostly rural trail, which crosses five counties in the upper east central portion of Florida around St Augustine, is now eligible for about $8 million per year in “Tier II” Sun Trail funds provided by the Florida Legislature in 2015 until the trail is completed.

southwest-regional-trail-260pxThe Capital City to Sea Trail, centered around Tallahassee and four counties, came in second place. The 280 mile South West Coastal Trail, which spans seven counties from St Pete through Sarasota (including the Legacy Trail) to Naples, came in third place among the seven finalist regional trails across Florida.

I went to Tallahassee on behalf of the Friends of The Legacy Trail as part of the team promoting the SW Coastal Trail.  Our entire team had worked very hard and was optimistic.  We had the most letters of endorsement from major community entities.

[See Letters of Endorsement ]

We were superbly represented.  Ray Chiaramonte, executive director of the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority, gave the SW Coastal Trail briefing slides highlighting the substantial safety, ecotourism, and economic development opportunities.  Dave Hutchinson, executive director of the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization participated.  Here were the top regional transportation planners (usually synonymous with road builder) spending the  day pitching trail building to the FGTC!  Mark Cunningham, Sarasota County Deputy Administrator and, Paula Wiggins, the county Transportation Planning Manager gave a superb presentation about the Legacy Trail and ongoing efforts to extend it.

text-box-260But as I listened to the individual presentations, my optimism about the superiority of the SW Coastal trail morphed into admiration for all that was being done building local and regional trails across the state.  The FGTC staff had scored all the trails nearly equally against 10 criteria – no help picking the single best.  Representatives for each regional trail gave convincing presentations on the merits of their regional trail.  We had the “A” team making our best case for selecting the SW Coastal Trail.  But by the end of the presentations, I wasn’t sure which single trail I would pick if I was on the FGTC.

So we came in third place in a state wide regional trail building competition.  That’s certainly something to be very proud of.  FDOT, which administers the SUN Trail funding and implementation, had told the FGTC they would recognize the top three regional trails for “Tier II” SUN Trail funding.  As the third place finisher, we are now on the FDOT radar should the St John or Capital Cities trail be unable to spend all the funds in a given year, a remote but not unheard of situation.  And The Legacy Trail will certainly be competitive for some of the annual $8 million “Tier III” funds for individual trail projects across the state.  FDOT will begin the “Tier III” selection process this summer.

After the deliberations were concluded, many of the FGTC members commented about how the outstanding trail building opportunities far exceeded the $25 million annual SUN Trail funding (the Coast to Coast trail from St Pete to Titusville gets “Tier I” $8 million per year).  Perhaps the next FGTC and others should consider taking this message back to the Legislature.

We have established important connections with key organizations, and who knows what dividends that offers in the future.

To Ed Wolfenbarger: Happy Retirement!

by John League

ed-300wThe Legacy Trail will be losing one of its “Most Valuable Players” on May 31 when Parks and Recreation specialist Ed Wolfenbarger retires after more than 15 years of service to Sarasota County.

Ed was a familiar presence along The Legacy Trail, whether it was rolling up his sleeves to remove invasive plants, helping to install informational kiosks or making sure daily the trail was in tip-top shape.

An invaluable friend and supporter of Friends of The Legacy Trail, Ed offered information, advice, guidance and assistance when attending  FLT Board meetings and general membership meetings. He played a key role planning and assisting with the annual Tour de Parks bike event.

ed-3-200A native of Rockford, Ill., Ed joined Sarasota County Parks-Recreation in 2002. He got interested in parks and recreation as a youth,  he said. In high school, he worked as a life guard and water safety instructor for the Rockford Park District, the YMCA and the School District.

“The director of the Park District suggested I get a degree in recreation-parks management and said that Western Illinois University was a good school,” Ed said. “I took his advice.”

His favorite part of the job has been his work as an ambassador for the Legacy Trail, talking to and getting to know the people who use the 10.6-mile trail to walk, bike, run and commute.

“Working in the field with staff and volunteers,” said the 66-year-old Sarasota resident, “is where the rubber meets the road.”

Ed said he’s particularly enjoyed working with Friends of The Legacy Trail. FLT saluted Ed on April 5 with a retirement party as part of its April meeting. More than 50 people attended.

“I have worked with several volunteer organizations but none as professional and dynamic and Friends of The Legacy Trail,” he said.  “I have been blessed to be associated with such a dedicated hard working group of individuals.”

What’s next? Ed and his wife Tami plan to travel, then see where life leads them.

“I hope God will lead me to minister to folks along the way, especially the grandchildren,” Ed said.

 

 

FLT Helps With 2016 Bike Florida Tour

While the 500+ riders from the Bike Florida Tour visited Sarasota County, FLT helped out by staffing 7 rest stops, 2 Info Tables,  and a Speakers Bureau presentation about The Legacy Trail.  Thanks to all who helped!  Many of the riders had never been to this area before and all told us how much they enjoyed being here and riding on our trails.  Here are a few pictures:

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Section of Legacy Trail Closed Apr. 18 – 22

Announcement:  Sections of Legacy Trail Will
Be Closed for Utilities Work

Mon. April 18 thru Friday, April 22

The Legacy Trail will be closed at the North Creek Bridge area located at the yellow mile marker LT-7.55 (approximately 6/10 of a mile north of Osprey Junction Trailhead Park and 1 mile south of Central Sarasota Parkway) from Monday, April 18 through Friday, April 22. The trail will reopen Saturday, April 23.

A utilities contractor will be connecting a water main for future community development. The project will require work in a limited space near the bridge with large equipment such as a back hoe, trucks, drilling equipment and sections of pipe.  The force main pipe is located approximately 50’ under the edge of the trail and will require removal of a cross section of Trail. The project should take 4 days.

Fortunately, the new Honore extension will be opening just in time to provide a nice detour.  We’ve all been wanting to try out this new section of Honore, so here’s your chance! The suggested route uses bike lanes on Laurel Road, Honore, and Central Sarasota Parkway to get around the construction area.  This route is shown in yellow in the map below:

Note:  There were some unexpected delays, and Honore may not be open for the first part of the week when The Legacy Trail is closed.

2016 Tour de Parks Pictures

Many thanks to all of our Sponsors, Volunteers, and Participants for making this year’s Tour de Parks a great success!

A Dark and Drizzly Start
IMG_1492But a Sunny and Glorious Finish!

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The pictures from the ride are now online. 

How did people feel about it?
The smiling faces tell it all!

Click Here to View Pictures

Additional Pictures by Andrea Seager

Any of the pictures can be downloaded to your own computer. 

Also visit (and like) our Facebook Page for additional pictures.