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!
A significant step was taken today (3/5/21) as the asphalt paving was begun on Segment 1 of the trail extension. Paving started at Weber St. this morning and is progressing north towards Bahia Vista Blvd. This picture was taken around noon, so you can see that they are making good progress!
The new protected bike lanes on each side of Ringling Blvd will provide a safe bicycle route from the northern end of The Legacy Trail near Payne park to central downtown Sarasota near the location of the Saturday Farmers Market! The bike lanes will go from Lime Ave. to S. Pineapple Ave. Many thanks to the Sarasota city commissioners for approving this project and to the city staff for their diligent and thorough work to make this happen.
An online survey on the proposal gathered 700 responses, 95% of which supported redesigning Ringling to better accommodate bikes. Dan Ohrenstein, Assistant City Engineer, stated “I would challenge anyone to find an issue in society today that has that much positivity.”
The work is expected to cost $900,000 for design and construction, and to be completed by the end of this year, in time for the opening of The Legacy Trail. A more permanent landscaped design will be considered at a later time.
A historic Ringling train car has been moved into place at the Venice Train Depot today. With the help of numerous donors, the Venice Area Historical Society brought the retired circus train car to the Train Depot campus and is donating it to Sarasota County for viewing by the public.
Additional pictures by Mike Soltis and the Venice Historical Society:
It is incredibly exciting to see the transformation of an abandoned rail corridor into the extension of the Legacy Trail. These recent photos taken at trail end by Culverhouse Nature Park show the contractor has stripped the overgrown vegetation within the construction footprint, and redefined the shape, depth and pitch of the drainage ditch of both sides of the rail bed. Then this huge, articulated mulcher makes quick work of shredding the vegetation in place.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the start of construction of the north Legacy Trail Extension is scheduled for this Thursday July 9 at 10:30 a.m. Attendance at the event is restricted due to Covid-19 concerns, however, everyone can watch via a live event on the Sarasota County Facebook page.
At this time, our community is encouraged to stay close to home and limit their interactions. During these challenging times, we understand the need to get outside, soak up some fresh air and get exercise. When enjoying The Legacy Trail, there are several actions you can take to keep yourself and others safe:
Follow the CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of 6 feet.
Keep single-file when walking or biking
If there are people at a stop station, keep going
If the trailhead looks busy, come another time
Bring your own water so you don’t have to use drinking fountains
Practice “pack it in, pack it out” so you don’t have to use the trash receptacles
Bring hand wipes or sanitizer
And finally, be smart, stay safe and don’t travel far from home. Our hospitals, resources and emergency services are being utilized in other capacities. It’s important to keep yourself safe while recreating.
Sarasota County is closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources (PRNR) is in regular communication with the county Health Department and continues to receive updates related to its operations. Things are changing daily, so for the latest information on COVID-19 in Sarasota County, please visit scgov.net/COVID.
After discussion with management of Sarasota County Parks, FLT has purchased and donated to the county a Stand-On Debris Blower for use on The Trail. Mowing & storms cause The Trail to be littered with debris. This will help to make the trail safer and also help to prevent flat tires.
Check out this video to see this amazing machine in action!