by Steve Martin
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 sections of the trail near them. This would include the sections from Payne Park to Bee Ridge, Bee Ridge to Clark, and the connector to North Port. Commissioners also stated that work on the North Port connector should have that highest priority for initial development.
Northern Extension to Sarasota
November 2018 – April 2019
Due diligence period. Before buying the land the county looks at possible environmental issues, leases, contracts, encroachments onto the rail property, etc,
County staff begins developing a detailed project plan.
County bonds for $35M are issued to fund purchase of the Phase 2 rail corridor, design costs, and initial improvements to the North Port Connector.
Closing on the land is expected to occur on May 30.
Design work begins.
Additional bonds are issued to pay for construction.
Construction begins on the Phase 2 segment of the extension into downtown Sarasota (see map below).
Fiscal Year 2022 – 2023
$7.5M in SunTrail money from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) becomes available for Phase 1 construction (see map below).
Construction begins on the Phase 1 segment of the extension.
Connector to North Port
No timeline information is available at this time. The next step will be for county and North Port officials to discuss and agree upon a course of action to determine the best route to North Port.
As noted above, Sarasota County Commissioners have stated that work on the North Port connector should have that highest priority for initial development. This page will be updated as we get more information.