Now that the referendum has passed, the next steps are for the county to purchase the rail corridor, design the trail, and begin construction. The following very preliminary timeline information is based on a presentation by Carolyn Brown, then head of the county’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources department, to the Board of County Commissioners on March 14, 2018. Over the next few months county staff will doubtless be refining the plan and this page will be updated as we get more information.
At the 1/15/19 regular meeting of the Board of County commissioners, the commissioners and staff expressed desire to move forward quickly with the project by completing sections of the trail before the bridges are built. This would allow many neighborhoods to start enjoying the use of sections of the trail near them.
In the latest plan the surface level trail will be financed and built by the county and the overpasses over Clark and Bee Ridge Roads will be financed, designed, and built by FDOT (more info …).
Commissioners have also stated that work on the North Port connector should have the highest priority for initial development.
June 4, 2019 – Sarasota County sold a portion of the bonds to pay for the railroad land and initial design costs via a competitive process to the financial institutions that provided the county the lowest true interest cost. The financial institutions and brokers involved in the sale include Raymond James, Fidelity, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Ziegler, Advisors Asset Management and Ramirez.
June 5, 2019 – The Sarasota County Commission authorized the county administrator to execute a contract with Kimley-Horn and Associates for the design and engineering of the Legacy Trail Extension Project after bond signing.
June 28, 2019
- Sarasota County bond signing was completed,
- County completed closing on acquisition of the Phase 2 rail corridor,
- Design contract was signed with Kimley-Horn and Associates, with 30 percent of the first segment design plans to be completed by Sept. 12 and 100 percent completed by March 5, 2020
- Initial design meeting between county and Kimley-Horn,
- BIG DAY!!
- The county has selected Jon F. Swift, Inc. as the project’s construction manager and will begin negotiations. The contract is planned to go before the county commission later this summer.
- In July, FDOT is expected to make the official change to the work program to construct overpasses at Clark and Bee Ridge Roads and a construction schedule should become available.
July 2020 – Additional bonds are issued to pay for construction. Construction begins on ground-level segments of the extension into downtown Sarasota (see map below). The order in which the segments will be built will be determined by the design firm.
Sometime in 2022 – Ground-level Trail Completion!
Shortly Thereafter – Completion of the Clark Road and Bee Ridge Road overpasses. With the recent realignment of responsibilities, FDOT will be responsible for building the overpasses. They are now engaged in preliminary budgeting and design work and there is no estimate for a completion date at this time. The overpass at Clark and McIntosh roads will be particularly complex because the overpass will now be part of the project to straighten McIntosh Road at this intersection.
Connector to North Port
No timeline information is available at this time. The next step will be for county and North Port officials to agree upon the best route to North Port. Currently three routes are under consideration:
- Two routes through Deer Prairie Creek Preserve and/or Schewe Ranch, and
- A northern route under a power line in the Carlton Reserve.
May 27, 2019 Friends of the Legacy Trail sponsored two tours for Sarasota County and City of North Port commissioners to view and experience alternative routes from the Legacy Trail in Venice to North Port. (See Article)
- Design firm Kimley Horn will start design work. An initial part of this work will be estimating the trail cost if the route through Deer Prairie Creek Preserve is chosen.
- The Gulf Coast Community Foundation has provided a $33,500 grant to North Port to help expedite the potential construction of a bridge over the canal separating Schewe Ranch from W Price Blvd.