The following report prepared by City of Sarasota staff provides the latest and most complete discussion of the state of the planning to create a connecting trail from The Legacy Trail to Nathan Benderson Park. The report addresses only the section of the route from The Legacy Trail to 17th Street. The remainder of the route is uncertain at this time. This web page will be updated as more information becomes available.
December 8, 2022
SUN Trail: Bobby Jones to Legacy Trail Engineering Memo
The City of Sarasota is considering routing options for the SUNTrail alignment. The SUNTrail is a funding source that can be used to fund the regional trails connecting the Legacy Trail Network with trail developments underway at Bobby Jones and 17th Street Park. The Department for Environmental Protection’s Office of Greenways and Trails currently has the route connecting to the Legacy Trail through an easement near East Cornelius Circle. The trail then follows Circus Boulevard, turning right at 17th Street. Existing plans also feature a branch traveling from Circus Boulevard to the Club House at Bobby Jones Golf Club.
Another option would re-route the trail from the northernmost portion of Circus Boulevard and 17th Street. Instead, the trail would travel through Bobby Jones Nature Park, meeting Sarasota County developments at the southwest corner of 17th Street Park. Multiple options are being considered as SUNTrail funding allows alternative routing within 0.25 miles of the initial route. The following are the three options being considered by the City of Sarasota.
Option 1 – Legacy Trail to 17th Street
Option 1 would continue the development of the SUNTrail along the initial alignment. The SUNTrail alignment would travel along 17th Street, Circus Boulevard, and an easement before connecting to the Legacy Trail. The trail would feature a branch extending from Circus Boulevard to the Club House at Bobby Jones Golf Course, connecting a network of nature trails within Bobby Jones. The project would include bridge replacement near the entrance to Bobby Jones and Azinger Way and the construction of an overhead bridge for pedestrians and cyclists at the intersection of the proposed trail and Fruitville Road. The section from the Legacy Trail to Bobby Jones Club House, including bridge replacement and construction of an overhead bridge, is projected to cost approximately $9,000,000. An additional $2,000,000 would be needed for the northern section from Bobby Jones Club House through 17th Street. The total projected cost for the design, permitting, and construction of Option 1 is approximately $11,000,000. Option 1 is subject to permitting approvals from the Florida Department of Transportation, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
Option 2 – Alternative Route through Bobby Jones
Option 2’s southern portion of trail would be identical to Option 1. The SUNTrail alignment would travel along Circus Boulevard and an easement near East Cornelius Circle, connecting Bobby Jones Club House to the Legacy Trail. This portion would still include bridge replacement and an overhead bridge for pedestrians and cyclists at Fruitville Road. The southern portion’s cost is projected at approximately $9,000,000.
Option 2 would alter the northern portion of the SUNTrail alignment at Bobby Jones Club House. From Bobby Jones Club House, the SUNTrail would utilize part of the Bobby Jones Nature Trail to extend eastward before branching northeastward to the southwest corner of 17th Street Park. From 17th Street Park, Sarasota County would continue the development of the SUNTrail to 17th Street to link trail networks further north. Throughout Bobby Jones, the SUNTrail would be made of bike-friendly, pervious pavements to address environmental concerns. The total projected cost for the design, permitting, and construction of Option 2 is approximately $10,000,000. Option 2 is subject to approvals from Sarasota County, the Trust for Public Lands, the Florida Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the Southwest Florida Water Management District. Furthermore, evaluation is needed to determine if trail access through the park can be closed daily.
Option 3 – No Build
Option 3 would cease the development of the SUNTrail alignment between the Legacy Trail and Bobby Jones Nature Park. This option has no cost or parameters, as no construction would occur. Funding would be directed toward other trail priorities within the City of Sarasota.
The City of Sarasota is willing to move forward with Option 2 if approved by Sarasota County and the agencies above. If Option 2 is not permitted by the agencies above, then the City of Sarasota will move forward with Option 1.