Since 1989, Sarasota County has levied a one-percent sales tax which can be used only for local infrastructure improvements. Seventy-five percent is allocated to the County and its municipalities ( Longboat Key, North Port, Sarasota, Venice ). Twenty-five percent is allocated to Sarasota County schools. This sales tax has a sunset provision, meaning it will expire on December 31, 2024, unless it is renewed for 15 years. ( It was extended twice before. ) On the general election ballot being held November 8, 2022, Sarasota County voters will be asked whether this tax should be continued.
As required by state law, proposed uses ( project list ) of the sales tax monies must be identified in advance of a vote. Sarasota County is earmarking nearly $80 million for its park and recreation system including monies for: a Nathan Benderson Park Connector Trail, a Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvement Program, and a Safe Routes to Schools and Legacy Trail Connectivity Program. The City of North Port is committing money for a Legacy Trail Extension Trailhead and Warm Mineral Springs improvements such as trails, bridges, and picnic shelters. The City of Sarasota will use the sales tax dollars for the Bobby Jones Nature Park and a potential “North Legacy Trail.” All these governmental bodies receiving revenue have plans to improve parks and/or streets and sidewalks.
Interestingly, the project list is part and parcel of the vote, meaning the new tax dollars must be used for the projects already identified. A Citizen Tax Oversight Committee is created ( maintained ) to ensure proceeds are used only for infrastructure and listed projects.
At its meeting on July 11, 2022, the Friends of The Legacy Trail Board of Directors unanimously approved a resolution supporting continuance of the sales tax. That resolution states in part: “… ( the eligible units of government ) have identified park and transportation projects which would either directly benefit the Legacy Trail and its connectors or which would enhance destinations our membership would enjoy and utilize ….”
If you are a Sarasota County voter, please consider the merits of the one-percent sales tax extension and vote accordingly on November 8.
Louis W. Kosiba President Friends of The Legacy Trail
With the opening of Segment 2, we now have a continuous 19.6-mile trail extending from Shamrock Park in the south to Bahia Vista Street in the north. The southern portion includes 3.9 miles of the mainland side of the Venetian Waterway Park. See map for the full picture.
The last segment of the extension, shown in green above, is expected to open around the beginning of December. This section will extend the trail another 2.8 miles to Payne Park and Fruitville Road.
Segment 1 of the Legacy Trail North Extension from Proctor Road to Bahia Vista is now open to the public!! In addition, the county has also opened sections of Segment 2 from Culverhouse Nature Park to Sawyer Loop Road, and from Proctor Road to just north of Ashton Road.
Since Friends of The Legacy Trail first proposed extending The Trail into downtown Sarasota in 2013, it has been a long, hard, campaign with many ups and downs along the way. The opening of Segment 1 represents a very significant milestone for our community and all who have supported and worked for the Extension.
Here are a few scenes showing how we got here:
FLT Proposes Trail Extension to County Commissioners
Photo from Sarasoto News Leader Oct. 11, 2013
Hundreds of Information Tables
Meetings with County Commissioners
New Sign and Board Members
FLT Board Members Celebrate Purchase of First 2-Mile Rail Segment
FLT Speakers Bureau Gave Many Presentations to Local Organizations
Two of Our Biggest Supporters
Thank You Sarasota County
Celebrating Purchase of Rail Corridor
Groundbreaking for the North Extension
Trail Clearing Begins
Segment 2 Clearing
Progress! Trail clearing proceeding on Segment 2 of the extension.
Paving Begins on Segment 1
New kiosk, palm trees, and pavement at Wilkinson Ave. Intersection
Groundbreaking for the paved section of the North Port Legacy Trail Connector was held this morning, Monday, June 6. FLT was represented at the event by (left) Sharon Donovan (FLT Newsletter Editor & NP Representative), (center) Louis Kosiba (FLT President), and (right) Rita Miotti (FLT vice-President).
FLT was thanked by everyone who spoke, including Nicole Rissler (Sarasota County Parks Department) and County Commissioners Alan Maio and Ron Cutsinger. It was a very positive event, which is what we all need these days!