Category Archives: Trail News

From the President’s Corner – February 2019

by Roger Normand

It’s easy to get swept up in the euphoria of the latest extension news. After all, it’s all good news, vision morphing into reality. But there’s much more going on along the existing trail. Let me highlight a few examples this past month.


January 9th marked the grand opening ceremony of the new Legacy Trail Overpass at Laurel Road. County Commissioners Maio, Hines, Moran and Florida Department of Transportation Director John Kubler participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony, to the delight of some 50 trail enthusiasts.

Commissioner Maio spoke of his efforts to secure County funds to relocate major utility lines within the planned footprint of the overpass. Director Kubler said this was a win-win project, as trail users can now safely and easily cross the very busy four lane Laurel Road, while vehicles now have one less red light to contend with. Left unmentioned: trail users can delight in climbing a second Legacy Trail “Florida Hill,” along with the SR 41 overpass in Venice!


Miles likes the new water fountain.

A new frequent gathering spot for trail users is the intersection at the new Bay Street extension to Honore Avenue. FLT, with financial support from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, donated a new $5,900 ADA compliant multi-level water fountain at this intersection. The County installed this already-popular water fountain in January 2019. The fountain is Fido the dog friendly, and can fill tall jugs. Check it out and stay hydrated in style.


Least visible, but no less important, FLT donated and the County installed a second $3,000 passive infrared Eco-counter on the trail. (A third counter is on order.) These new counters are far more reliable, accurate, and far easier to harvest the data than the previous TrafX counters initially installed along the trail eight years ago. We have long believed in the adage that if you don’t count, you don’t count! We want to report a statistically credible number of trail uses. To that end, the number of trail uses for 2018 is 216,000. That’s down four percent from the 225,000 reported in 2017. We attribute this slight decline to the more than yearlong havoc of construction projects at Bay Street and Laurel Road changing trail use patterns, and the effect of the persistent Red Tide reducing tourism.


FLT is an all-volunteer organization. Your contributions – time and money – produce real trail improvements. Thank you. Contact me at here if you’d like to join our cause.

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!

From the President – January 2019

by Roger Normand, President, FLT

Out with the old, in with the new. New Year’s is a time to reflect on the past and look with optimism to the future. 2018 will remain a truly pivotal year for Legacy Trail enthusiasts and our community.

Achieving 71 percent voter endorsement, sweeping 100 out of 101 of the county precincts for a $65 million bond on the November ballot to extend the Legacy Trail to downtown Sarasota and better connect the city of North Port is astounding! I’m mindful that this euphoria is the result of countless, seemingly endless, energy-sapping hours of very hard work over six years by your Board of Directors, our volunteers, and partners to advocate throughout the County for the extension. We have a deep-seated satisfaction knowing how fundamentally this effort will benefit the health, safety, recreation, transportation, and economics of our community for generations to come.

Barring some unforeseen calamity, I have high confidence that the extension is on autopilot and will be built. So looking to the next few years, where should FLT focus its efforts? There are so many opportunities, like showcasing the unique character of our community along the new and existing trail, enhancing connections to the trail, and improving trail safety, to name but a few. Your Board of Directors will meet in January to decide how we can be most effective. I welcome your thoughts but would value even more your offer to help with your time and energy. In an all-volunteer organization like FLT, availability of committed people is often the limiting factor in what can be pursued. If you have a passion to make the trail a better place, please contact me here.

I would also like to publicly acknowledge the immense contributions by Andrea Seager, who served with me as co-chair of the Trail Extension Subcommittee and was FLT’s board secretary for the last few years. A resident of downtown Sarasota, Andrea was the dynamic force for a multitude of extension advocacy efforts, such as the development of the unique extension logo, creation of FLT referendum literature, speaking to government officials and individuals, doing radio interviews, giving presentations, and getting FLT info table space at Sarasota Farmers Market. All summer, she marshalled board members and volunteers to work together to get the referendum passed. Andrea has stepped away from FLT leadership to take care of other life priorities. Andrea, THANK YOU; we’ll see you on the trail.

President’s Corner – December 2018

From the President –

Thanksgiving is a time to express thanks. I’m honored to serve as the President of FLT, and thankful for the 12 other members of your Board of Directors. Each is passionate, bright, diligent, energetic, and self-motivated. They selflessly volunteer their time and energy to “support, promote, enhance, and protect The Legacy Trail and its connectors now and for future generations.”

I’m thankful for the unwavering support of local governments and their staff to embrace and value the many benefits to our community for a longer trail.

I’m thankful for the incredible efforts put forward by our volunteers and supporters who worked tirelessly for years to advocate for the extension.

I am most thankful for the 137,853 (71%) Sarasota County voters who not only agreed that investing in a multi-use, non-motorized trail connection between Sarasota and North Port was a worthy goal, but were willing to tax themselves to pay for it. You are each honorary Friends of the Legacy Trail members (we welcome you to join our 1,000 dues paying members)!

We have been singularly focused on advocacy for the extension. With funding now guaranteed, we will now chart a new set of FLT priorities to guide us for the next few years. The overwhelming margin of support gives us a strong “trail wind.” I’d welcome your suggestions on how we proceed. Contact me here.

Roger Normand, President
Friends of The Legacy Trail

It’s a Go!!!!

by Roger Normand, President FLT

Legacy Trail lovers, we are on our way to extending our beloved trail to the city of Sarasota and improved connectivity to North Port!

Surprising even the most optimistic Legacy Trail supporters, the Sarasota County-wide ballot issue garnered an ASTOUNDING 71% YES vote for a $65 million bond to extend the trail, sweeping 100 of 101 county precincts! That’s remarkable in a county that prides itself with keeping tax rates among the lowest in the state of Florida. Yet at every decision point, dating back to August 2013 when the county and Friends of the Legacy Trail (FLT) jointly funded a Feasibility Study, the Commissioners have methodically and unanimously endorsed taking the next step forward in pursuing the extension.

County residents emphatically reaffirmed the Commission’s actions by agreeing this was a worthy investment to improve safety, enhance health and quality of life, and provide substantial economic benefits to our community!

Such a massive win at the ballot box does not come without a herculean advocacy effort from your FLT Board, volunteers, and a growing network of supporters. We are also grateful for the efforts of the Trust for Public Lands (TPL). As a 501(c)(3), we were limited by law in promoting VOTE YES for the referendum. TPL established a political committee with individuals from across the political spectrum who were recognized and respected in the community. They raised funds, sought endorsements, and ran the Vote Yes campaign.

We also forged key alliances with the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, and Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

Implementation efforts have already started, with county planning processes and the contractual due diligence review of the corridor underway. North Port Commissioners are excited to proceed.

As an often-heard local commercial proclaims, THIS IS A HUGE win for our community.

We will keep you informed through the future planning and implementation efforts!

Trail Updates – December 2018

WHAT’S HAPPENING ON THE TRAIL?
by Megan Eidel, County Trails Coordinator

I hope everyone is having a great holiday season. The trail is picking up as people are coming back into town. Remember to be courteous of other users and slow down and use caution in the construction areas.

The Laurel Pedestrian Overpass should wrap up before the end of December. As previously mentioned, the light at Laurel Rd./Legacy has been removed. Users are asked to follow the detour and use the crossing at the Mission Valley light.

Bay Street Extension is still scheduled to wrap up sometime soon. I don’t have a specific date. Please use caution and go slow over the intersection as this is still a construction area. Remember, eventually this will be a signaled intersection that will have cars passing through, so take your time. They are working on installing the push button, similar to the one at Central Sarasota Parkway.

We are continuing to do tree work along the trail to lift the canopy and are continuing work on the shoulder shell placement.

Again, thank you all for your patience with the construction these past months! We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Megan Eidel
Trails Coordinator
Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources
Email: meidel@scgov.net

Bridge Photo by Darryl Lang

Trail Updates – November 2018

Updates from The Trail

Everyone is asking about the two construction projects along the trail. I think we are in the home stretch!

The Laurel Pedestrian Overpass should be open to users by the end of November. This doesn’t mean the entire bridge project will be complete, as they will be rehabbing the area on the ground where the detours run. The next step in the project will be installing the roll cage on the top of the bridge. Laurel Road will also have a few nighttime closures in the beginning of November.

Bay Street Extension is still scheduled to wrap up sometime in November. I don’t have a specific date. Please use caution and go slow over the intersection as this is still a construction area. Remember, eventually this will be a signaled intersection that will have cars passing through, so take your time. I’m not sure if you’ve seen, but the water fountain at OJT has been installed. There’s one more step needed before it’s “live”, but it should be up and running soon.

Thank you all for your patience with the construction these past months!

Megan Eidel
Trails Coordinator
Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources
Email: meidel@scgov.net

Bridge Photo by Darryl Lang

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.

Trail Updates – October 2018

Updates from The Trail

by Megan Eidel

Season is upon us!  And I’m sure as people trickle back down south, they will notice changes along The Legacy Trail.

The Laurel Pedestrian Overpass and Bay Street Extension project are moving along. We will see them start to wrap up as we move into fall.

We will be doing sporadic tree work with arborists along to trail the next couple of weeks. When you see work happening on the trail, make sure to slow down and use caution.

Interested in volunteering on the trail? Feel free to reach out to learn about our opportunities!

 

Megan Eidel
Trails Coordinator
Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources
Email: meidel@scgov.net