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
Ribbon-cutting ceremonies on July 8 officially opened the new Pompano Trailhead on The Legacy Trail. The new trailhead is located near the north end of the trail (see map) and provides much needed parking and other amenities for trail users starting from the north. It also includes 12 new lighted pickleball courts. Thank you business member Brett Koppes for this great image of the new park and trailhead.
New video of the beautiful job of assembling and installing the new bridge over Deer Prairie Creek as part of the construction of the new Legacy Trail North Port Connector. Thanks again to business member Brett Koppes, “The Sarasota Drone Guy,” for providing another great drone video of the installation.
The long awaited restroom and water fountain is taking shape at Culverhouse Nature Park along The Legacy Trail. The design is like those built at the Ashton Road and Sarasota Springs Trailheads. It is not visible from the trail. Enter the park and proceed less than 100 yards towards the community gardens.
With the ribbon-cutting ceremony on 3/3/22 the final segment of The Legacy Trail North Extension was officially opened. You can now travel on the trail from Venice to Payne Park in downtown Sarasota. (Map)
The drone video below, provided by FLT business member Brett Koppes, shows the route of the final segment that was completed. Thank you Brett for all of the amazing drone videos of the trail extension project.
Want to support the trail and be recognized with your name, or your business name, on one of the trail amenities. Sarasota County, in cooperation with Friends of The Legacy Trail, has just launched a new program that allows you to sponsor many types of trail amenities, including stop stations, shelters, benches, playgrounds, and more. Check out this brochure for more details and sponsorship rates.
The Info Tables Are Taking a Break for the Summer. See you in the Fall!
The seasonal Friends of The Legacy Trail information table is moving from its usual Bay Street location to the Ashton Street trailhead on the Legacy Trail at 4301 Ashton Street, about a block west of McIntosh Road. The table is open on most Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Parking is available at the trailhead and at the 360 Church on the east side of the Legacy Trail. We’ve just received a fresh batch of caps and t-shirts for sale. You’ll also find information on trail development, FLT memberships, FLT’s square foot campaign, and more. Stop by and see us!
Sarasota County, as of 2/9/22, has made a change to the HAWK signal light sequence that significantly improves safety at intersections using this type of signal. This change was recommended by FLT and is supported by recommendations of the National Association of City Traffic Officials (NACTO).
Previously, vehicles were informed they could proceed cautiously with a flashing red light while trail users were still viewing a countdown of time remaining to cross the intersection. This was contrary to typical intersections, where countdown timers convey to pedestrians or cyclists that they have the right of way. Given the speed of cyclists, a cyclists could believe he had plenty of time to cross, while a driver believed they could go forward.
Based largely on recommendations and research performed by FLT, the county has now changed these signals to “maintain the solid red indication for motorists throughout the full bicycle clearance interval”, as recommended by the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide. With this change, these intersections become consistent with typical intersections, where pedestrians or cyclists have the right of way during the full countdown.
This change currently affects the crossings at Sawyer Loop Rd., Proctor Rd., and Webber St. When Section 3 of the Trail opens on March 3rd, the signal at Bahia Vista St. will also include this modification. Crossing signals at Beneva Rd. and Tuttle Ave. will be standard red lights.
We wish to thank the Sarasota County commissioners and staff for following through with this recommendation. This change will make the Legacy Trail safer for all.
Friends of The Legacy Trail presented a check for $250,000 to the county at the 1/25/22 meeting of the Board of County Commissioners. Of this amount, $200,000 is from regular donations to FLT, including $100,000 from the Square Foot Campaign. This money will be used as part of a matching fund for a grant application to build parallel walking paths on sections of the trail. An additional $50,000 was a donation from Dr. Herbert Silverstein to fund a rest stop shelter on the trail extension. Thank you, Dr. Silverstein! And a big Thank You to all of our donors who have helped to make projects like this possible!