Category Archives: Announcements

Join our Speakers Bureau

The Friends of The Legacy Trail Speakers Bureau is looking for individuals who are comfortable presenting to a wide variety of groups to spread the word and excitement about The Legacy Trail.  Our Speakers Bureau was a very big part of our work to promote the Legacy Trail Extension Referendum by informing Sarasota County Voters about the important facts related to the project.  Although the Referendum has successfully passed, we continue to receive requests from community and neighborhood groups, service and business organizations, etc., to provide speakers to inform their membership about the trail. 

We have an important story to tell about our history as well as the ever-changing plans for the newly approved extension and possible connections to the trail.  Keeping the public informed as we move forward is very important to our mission and helps us honor the support the voters have shown for The Legacy Trail. We have developed a Power Point presentation that helps tell our story and we will provide the equipment and materials for these events. 

Sound interesting?  Need a little more information?  Let us know!  Contact us here. We will work with you to become familiar with the materials and make sure you have all the information you need.

Tour de Parks Bicycle Ride

by Michelle Stanley

Join us on Sunday, March 24, 2019 for the annual Tour de Parks Bike event. The ride features distances of 21, 35 and 62 miles, going through 12 scenic parks in Sarasota County. You may get more information and register now from here, or or go directly to Active.com. You can pay online, or download a form and mail it in. The ride will once again have a wonderful breakfast catered by First Watch, snacks at rest stations sponsored by Doctors Hospital and Lunch by Mattison’s. All this and a t-shirt (for the first 650 riders –size restrictions available on line) for $40 (plus Active fee). The prices go up starting February 28, so register early. The ride will begin at the historic Venice Train station. The ride will be held rain or shine.

Final Routes are still being confirmed and will be posted on our website. There will be packet pick-up prior to the event at Real Bikes, Bikes International and Sarasota Bikes. Details will be sent prior to the ride and posted at the link above. Last year we had close to 800 riders. We will have a Bespoke Jersey for sale and will have that information available on the website once the design is complete. If you would like to sponsor a mile marker or see other sponsorship opportunities, please contact Michelle Stanley.

FLT Monthly Meeting – Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019

Please join us for our monthly membership meeting. The meeting will be held in the Edson Keith Mansion at Phillippi Estate Park, 5500 Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. The social time begins at 6:00 and there will be appetizers, desserts and drinks (coffee, sparkling and still water). The meeting begins at 6:30. Our featured speaker will be Becky Alfonso of the Florida Bicycle Association. She will be discussing local, regional, and state trails and how the state is working to link trails together. We will also have a presentation from a new member, William Moss , on riding with a camera. Megan Eidel will give an update on the current Legacy Trail. The meeting should run about 1 hour.

Make Contributions to FLT with Amazon Smile!

Friends of The Legacy Trail is a newly registered organization with the Amazon Smile Foundation! We are now eligible to receive 0.5% of your Amazon Smile purchases made here: http://smile.amazon.com
No additional cost to you! But donations from Amazon Smile will go directly to FLT!

Amazon Smile is the same as ordering on Amazon.com except you can select from a list of eligible organizations and designate one to receive a percentage of your purchase price from Amazon Smile Foundation. (Amazon does not charge any administrative fees or take any deduction from the donation amount and there is no cost to the charitable organization.)
It’s easy-start shopping! Select Friends of The Legacy Trail!!

Thanks to Joan Attenberg for setting this up for us!

New Sidewalk Coming to Bay Street

by Todd Logan

The popular Osprey Junction Trailhead will soon reopen with the completion of the Bay Street extension to Honore Ave. Palmer Ranch residents will have a new way to reach the trail, complete with bike lanes and a multi-use pathway. One downside, however, is the lack of bike and pedestrian infrastructure on existing Bay Street between the Legacy Trail and U.S. 41. This sleepy narrow street is about to get busy!

A group of Osprey residents, alarmed by impending safety issues from increased Bay Street traffic, decided to do something about it. They raised the issue multiple times before the County Commission. They met with County staff. They engaged their fellow residents in the area. The county quickly agreed to re-stripe the road, add signage, and paint “sharrows” on the street. But a pathway or bike lanes were considered cost prohibitive.

The group, organized as COTS, the Coalition for Osprey Transportation Safety, pressed on. Persistence paid! Commissioners eventually directed staff to find a creative solution. They did. Last week, following a public hearing, the Commission agreed to allow a developer on Englewood’s River Road to construct a Bay Street sidewalk in lieu of their obligation to build a sidewalk adjacent to their new development on River Road, which would connect to nothing and be replaced when the road is widened.

With this agreement, a 5-foot wide sidewalk will now be built along the north side of Bay Street between the Legacy Trail’s Osprey Junction Trailhead and Old Venice Road, offering a safer route for everyone. Completion is expected by February 2019.

Jelks Family Stop Station and Learning Center

The Jelks Family Foundation Donates $22K to FLT

The donation will help sponsor a beautiful new landscaped stop station and learning center to be located in the grassy area just north of the train trestle adjacent to Oscar Scherer State Park.  FLT will also contribute funds for this project.

From Howard Jelks, Director of the Foundation, “Our family is very honored to participate in creating a place where folks using The Legacy Trail can learn about the railroads and native plant communities around them.  Dr. Allen Jelks, Sr. is very active in railroading circles — both in remembering the past and promoting rail travel in the future.  The late Dr. Mary Jelks was an energetic environmental activist who inspired others with her love and passion for natural plant communities”.

We look forward to adding another great amenity to the trail.  Thank you Jelks Family Foundation and all FLT donors who help make projects like this possible.

Here is the concept plan for the new rest facility:

Extension takes a giant leap forward

by Roger Normand and Andrea Seager

The Friends of the Legacy Trail have learned that there is a verbal agreement to new terms between Sarasota County, their partner Trust for Public Land, and CSX Railroad and their lessee Seminole Gulf Railroad, to acquire a portion of an unused rail corridor to extend the Legacy Trail into Downtown Sarasota!

The new agreement replaces previously negotiated terms calling for a two-phased acquisition with $20 million for phase 1 by December 2017 and $18 million for phase 2 by 2019. The County had allocated $8.6 million toward the extension during 2018 budget review sessions earlier this year, but was unlikely to achieve the remaining balance by this December. They asked the Trust for Public Land to renegotiate the terms based on the available funds.

The revised terms apply the available $8.6 million to buy the portion of the rail corridor from the northern terminus of the Legacy Trail at Culverhouse Nature Park, over Clark Road, to Ashton Road with closing in December 2017.

Once purchased, the County can begin applying for development and construction grants, and Friends of The Legacy Trail and our partners can begin fundraising in earnest for the extension.
The parties are working to finalize the revised terms and conditions before submitting it to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) for approval expected later in August.

Stay tuned for further details, including the specific date and time for the BCC meeting. We will need all Legacy Trail Extension supporters to show up in Commission Chambers in their FLT yellow shirts to support this land purchase!
For questions, please do not hesitate to contact us here.

The Legacy Trail – Laurel Road Utility Relocation Project Begins

The county has started work today, August 8, 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.

Osprey Junction Trailhead Closing for One Year

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.

Other access points to The Legacy Trail are (see map):

  • Culverhouse Nature Park: 7301 McIntosh Road Sarasota
  • Oscar Scherer State Park: 1843 South Tamiami Trail Osprey
  • Laurel Park Trailhead: 509 Collins Road Nokomis
  • Nokomis Riverview Park
  • Nokomis Community Center: 234 East Nippino Trail Nokomis
  • Patriots Park: 800 Venetia Bay Blvd Venice
  • Venice Train Depot: 303 East Venice Avenue Venice

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

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

FLT Donates Trail Counter to County

by Steve Martin

Friends of The Legacy Trail has donated a new, more accurate, trail counter to the County Parks Department to monitor traffic on The Legacy Trail.  Pictured, Jon Robinson, Division Manager, Natural Area Parks, Preserves and Trails (left), receives the counter from John League, President, Friends of The Legacy Trail (right).

FLT has performed two surveys in the past year to evaluate trail usage and user characteristics.  The results of these surveys and analysis were recently used to increase the calculated trail usage from 120,000 to 175,000 users per year.  Another finding from these surveys was that the currently-used trail counters are significantly under-counting trail usage.  An investigation of alternative counting devices and technology led to the selection of the more accurate Eco-Counter device donated by FLT to the county.

Having accurate data to demonstrate the popularity of The Legacy Trail is very important in seeking financial support for the trail and the trail extension to Sarasota.  This activity is currently being performed by both the County Parks Department (Thanks Megan!) and members of FLT.    In the trail business the saying is “If we don’t count, we don’t get counted.”