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.
The weather forecast 25+ mph north-to- south winds, directly along the Legacy Trail axis. A common adage here is the wind on some days makes up for the absence of hills. Trail use was noticeably lighter. So I breezed down the trail, turned and headed back into the wind, pedaling mightily but moving like I was in molasses. That’s when I saw her, rollerblading in a tucked position, pushing a doublewide baby carriage. “Well, you qualify as hard core pushing that stroller into this fierce wind” I said. We chatted. “I’m an avid runner and rollerblader,” Chelsea explained, “so this is great training. I’m pushing instead of pulling a weighted sled. My two little girls love being out on the trail with me.” We talked about her training. “We just bought a condo in Venice along the Legacy Trail. My husband is back in Colorado with our other two girls. I want to come train here in the summer heat and humidity as an alternative to Colorado.” “I hope that helps fulfill your ambitions” I said as we parted, headed back into the wind with added inspiration.
The two Pats were loading up their water bikes at Legacy Park. “That’s an interesting way to take a spinning class” I said. Pat-her replied “we love bicycling and the water, which is why we chose to come to Sarasota.” Pat-him added “we used our regular bikes yesterday to ride both sides of the Venetian Waterway trail yesterday, so today we are going to see it from the water.” Pat-her picked up “we drove down from Superior Wisconsin to vacation here for the week. Still too cold up there” she commiserated while basking in the warm sun here. “I designed this rack to travel with both hydro-bikes, along with our regular bikes…..oh, and our boat.” “Enjoy your stay” I replied, pondering the thought of water-bikes.
Well that’s odd I thought as I approached. Both walking down the Legacy Trail 41 overpass in stocking feet, carrying their rollerblades. “Did you EACH blow a wheel on the trail” I asked with a big grin while thinking what’s the chance of that. As if reading my mind, Andrew replied also smiling “no equipment malfunction, just a surface design issue.” Ann chipped in “We are rollerblading a marathon distance 26.2 miles on the Legacy Trail. We are post grad students from Manatee County, and love “blading on this trail because of the scenery and smooth surface.” Andrew picked up “but ‘blading down this overpass is like coming down a series of ski jumps. We’d rather not be successively airborne and out of control.” “Hmm, I hadn’t thought of that. I think they were designed to act like speed bumps for cyclist, I offered. But some low slung racing trikes bottom out on these terraces.” Note to FDOT: with overpasses under design for Clark and Bee Ridge intersections on the trail, is there a better design approach that doesn’t compromise low trikes and rollerbladers?
It’s April!! The exciting 2022 Giving Challenge will be here this month. Mark your calendars for April 26-27, noon to noon! This 24-hour giving event will connect the Friends of The Legacy Trail with passionate donors and community members to support the new, longer, improved Legacy Trail and all it brings to Sarasota County. The trail is enjoyed by full-time and seasonal residents; local, national, and international visitors; bicyclists and walkers, families and singles, old and young, totaling nearly 525,000 users in the last 12 months!
On April 26, start donating your gifts of $25-$100 at noon, and they will be matched by The Patterson Foundation dollar for dollar. Additionally, we have received two anonymous Challenge Grants that will each match the first $1,000 received. These three match opportunities will make your $100 donation worth $400!!!
#BeTheOne to help Friends of The Legacy Trail continue to strengthen and enhance this local asset that brings great value to the Sarasota County area!
You can donate securely online during the Giving Challenge at www.givingchallenge.org and search for Friends of The Legacy Trail! Participate in #GivingChallenge22 and support Friends of The Legacy Trail along with other area non-profit organizations!