2019 Tour de Parks shatters previous record participation

by Roger Normand

They gathered in the predawn Florida cold (60 degrees Fahrenheit) darkness at the Historic Venice Train Depot.   Vehicles guided by volunteers to designated parking areas.   Bicycles dismounted from their carrier.  Final ABC safety check: “A” for Air in tires, OK; “B” for Brakes, OK. “C” for Cranks and Chains, OK.  A quick healthy bit of fuel consisting of yogurt, muffins, fruit, OJ and coffee graciously provided by sponsor First Watch restaurant.  A final potty call.

Event Director Bud Gaunce called out “Ride safely, ride courteously, and enjoy the ride.”

And as the sun peaked over the horizon, bringing the light and warmth of day, the first wave of 62 milers on the 2019 Tour de Parks launched north on the Legacy Trail.  The 35 and 21 milers followed later in the morn.

950 riders signed up for the event, shattering last’s year’s record of 750!  It all went very smoothly, thanks to detailed planning efforts and dedicated volunteers before, during, and cleanup after the ride.

True to its name, riders traversed parks along the Legacy Trail, venturing to Urfer, Rothenbach Parks.  Rowers could be seen honing their skills as riders circled Benderson Park, site of international rowing competitions. Ocean vistas and dream homes line the newly paved route along Casey Key.

The Tour de Parks is a key fund raising event by both the Friends of the Legacy Trail and the Sarasota-Manatee Bicycle Club.  About 100 volunteers help support the ride, along with area bicycle shops providing SAG support for mechanical issues.  This year’s ride, like most previous year’s, was graced with light winds, low humidity, mostly blue sky, near perfect low 80s temperature.  Perfect for hesitant riders trying their first cycling event, to seasoned cyclist using this as a first of the season’s long distance rides.  A hearty lunch provided by Mattison’s greeted those at the finish line.

Thanks to all who participated.  And a special thanks to all the FLT and SMBC volunteers who make this event possible.  See more FLT and SMBC volunteer opportunities.

Friends of Osprey Junction Trailhead to hold community garage sale on April 6

Sponsored by Friends of Osprey Junction Trailhead (FOJT), a community garage sale is scheduled for Saturday, April 6, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the park. All proceeds will go toward the Visitor Center Project, a partnership with the Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department. It is designed to improve the structure in the park for public use

Donations sought for event, with proceeds going toward Visitor Center Project. The FJOT is accepting donated items for the sale. Items may be dropped off on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to noon at the house in the park.

Map

FLT Monthly Meeting – Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Please join us for our monthly membership meeting. The meeting will be held in the Edson Keith Mansion at Phillippi Estate Park, 5500 Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. The social time begins at 6:00 and there will be appetizers, desserts and drinks (coffee, sparkling and still water). The meeting begins at 6:30.

This month’s meeting will feature recognition of our many volunteers who have helped promote The Legacy Trail.

New South Creek Stop Station and Learning Area

by Darryl Lang

“The South Creek Stop Station and Learning Area” is being created at South Creek adjacent to Oscar Scherer State Park. Funding from the Jelks Family Foundation and Friends of The Legacy Trail is making this project possible.   The area will include a bench, bike rack, kiosk, viewing area for the historic railroad trestle, various Florida native trees and plants and an official Sarasota County historical marker explaining the significance of the railroad to our community. Trail users will be able to view the historic railroad trestle, learn about Florida native plants and relax in a natural, enjoyable setting.

Phil Smith, Darryl Lang, and Kate Johnston

Phil Smith, State Licensed Landscape Architect, and Kate Johnston, Landscape Designer, from DWJA Landscape Architects have donated their time and expertise to create a site and construction plan. Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources staff have also been working on the design. Friends of The Legacy Trail will be managing the project. Darryl Lang, FLT Board Member, has worked tirelessly to get this project accomplished.  Construction should begin in a few months.

Click to Enlarge
Current View of the Site

Trail Updates – February 2019

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

It’s busy season, and it’s important to follow basic rules and etiquette on the trail. Remember, The Legacy Trail is a multi-use trail. We have cyclists, walkers, roller bladers, parents with strollers, dog walkers and more!

Here are a few of The Legacy Trail’s etiquette policies and rules:

  • Cyclists, always slow down and announce in a loud voice “On your left” before passing other cyclists or pedestrians.
  • The speed limit on the trail is 15 mph. This includes the pedestrian overpasses.
  • Always stop and use crossing signals at road intersections.
  • Cyclists under 16 must wear a helmet.

Together, we can create a safe and enjoyable experience for ALL Legacy Trail users.

Join our Speakers Bureau

The Friends of The Legacy Trail Speakers Bureau is looking for individuals who are comfortable presenting to a wide variety of groups to spread the word and excitement about The Legacy Trail.  Our Speakers Bureau was a very big part of our work to promote the Legacy Trail Extension Referendum by informing Sarasota County Voters about the important facts related to the project.  Although the Referendum has successfully passed, we continue to receive requests from community and neighborhood groups, service and business organizations, etc., to provide speakers to inform their membership about the trail. 

We have an important story to tell about our history as well as the ever-changing plans for the newly approved extension and possible connections to the trail.  Keeping the public informed as we move forward is very important to our mission and helps us honor the support the voters have shown for The Legacy Trail. We have developed a Power Point presentation that helps tell our story and we will provide the equipment and materials for these events. 

Sound interesting?  Need a little more information?  Let us know!  Contact us here. We will work with you to become familiar with the materials and make sure you have all the information you need.

County seeks bond funds for Legacy Trail Extension

Taking the first visible step to implement the will of County voters, the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners (BCC) unanimously approved a resolution on January 29, 2019, to seek up to $65 million in new bond funds to finance the extension of the Legacy Trail.  County voters overwhelmingly approved the measure on the November 6, 2018 ballot to extend the trail along the abandoned rail corridor past Payne Park to Fruitville Road in downtown Sarasota, and better connect the city of North Port to the Legacy Trail.

Speaking on behalf of all trail users and advocates, Friends of the Legacy Trail Vice President Louis Kosiba thanked the commissioners for their unwavering support at every key decision point over the last six years for extending the Legacy Trail.  “Thank you for placing this issue before the voters. Thank you for your support to move the Legacy Trail Project along quickly so that citizens and visitors can enjoy a beautiful linear park which will connect the major cities across our county.  I would also like to thank the County’s administrative staff for their dedication and hard work to ensure The Legacy Trail is and will be the premier multi-use trail in Southwest Florida”.

“This is a big deal,” Commission Chairman Charles Hines said. “This is a major step, and I’m very excited we’re moving this forward as quickly as possible.”

The County will seek the bond funds in at least two series.  The County must move quickly to the bond market to secure $30.1 million needed by May 30, 2019 to close on the segment of rail corridor from Ashton Road to Fruitville Road.  This timing is per the August 2017 purchase contract with the Trust for Public Land, which negotiated the acquisition with CSX Transportation on behalf of the County.

The county plans to initially seek a total of $35 million in bonds.  This amount includes $2.0 million to better connect the City of North Port to the Legacy Trail, and $2.9 million to cover the cost of issuing the bond. It also includes funds to hire a planning and design firm for the entire rail corridor from Fruitville Road to Culverhouse Nature Park.  The County purchased the Culverhouse Park to Ashton Road segment in December 2017 under the terms of the same contract.  The County will pursue a second draw of bond funds to begin actual construction.

This is great news on several fronts: the new BCC remains committed to extending the Legacy Trail; they are moving promptly to secure the money to purchase the corridor AND hire professionals to begin the formal design process; it includes the promised $2 million for the North Port connection, even though no decision has been made on the actual route and cost.

Meanwhile, the Trust for Public Land and the County continue with the due diligence review (environmental assessment, title search, boundary survey, resolution of easements) without any showstoppers.  The due diligence must be completed by April 30, 2019 to enable settlement on 30 May, 2019.

Tour de Parks Bicycle Ride

by Michelle Stanley

Join us on Sunday, March 24, 2019 for the annual Tour de Parks Bike event. The ride features distances of 21, 35 and 62 miles, going through 12 scenic parks in Sarasota County. You may get more information and register now from here, or or go directly to Active.com. You can pay online, or download a form and mail it in. The ride will once again have a wonderful breakfast catered by First Watch, snacks at rest stations sponsored by Doctors Hospital and Lunch by Mattison’s. All this and a t-shirt (for the first 650 riders –size restrictions available on line) for $40 (plus Active fee). The prices go up starting February 28, so register early. The ride will begin at the historic Venice Train station. The ride will be held rain or shine.

Final Routes are still being confirmed and will be posted on our website. There will be packet pick-up prior to the event at Real Bikes, Bikes International and Sarasota Bikes. Details will be sent prior to the ride and posted at the link above. Last year we had close to 800 riders. We will have a Bespoke Jersey for sale and will have that information available on the website once the design is complete. If you would like to sponsor a mile marker or see other sponsorship opportunities, please contact Michelle Stanley.

Info Tables to Begin Again Soon!!

by Rita Miotti

We are in need of Volunteers interested in helping us to staff Information Tables.  These are held along the trail, at community events such as Farmers Markets, Health Fairs, Craft Shows, Festivals and other locations we feel would provide us an opportunity to speak with the public about The Legacy Trail and Friends of The Legacy Trail.

Some will be on a regular schedule and others will be as they come along.
Information Tables allow us to honor the strong public support of The Legacy Trail Extension Referendum last fall by providing information about The Legacy Trail as well as regular updates on the plans for the extension project as it moves forward.  They also help us to grow our membership base and support fund raising programs we have developed.

FLT Board members work these events with assistance from volunteers when needed.  As interest and excitement grows for The Legacy Trail we would like to identify a group of volunteers who would enjoy this type of event and work with them to assure they have the training and information necessary to help us cover all requests.   You don’t have to be a full-time resident in Sarasota County, just willing to talk with the public about The Legacy Trail and Friends of The Legacy Trail at events that are convenient for you. Can we add your name to this group?  If so, please contact us here.

Friends of The Legacy Trail