Prompted by last year’s parkland acquisition nomination by the Friends of The Legacy Trail, the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners in August allocated $75,000 toward the cost of a study of the feasibility of extending the Trail from its current end in Palmer Ranch 7.5 miles north to Payne Park in downtown Sarasota. Originally estimated to cost a total of $150,000, the Commission challenged the private sector to raise the remaining $75,000 needed to complete the study. The Friends accepted the challenge.
As the County staff worked to establish the proper scope of the study, it was determined it should be split into two phases, with the cost of the first phase coming in at almost $90,000 and the second phase at nearly $75,000. The overwhelming popularity of the original section of the Trail prompted some generous donations to the cause, enough in fact to allow the Friends to make up the $14,824 difference between the County’s allocation and the actual price, letting work on the study proceed. Work on the first phase began on March 11th and completion is scheduled in early fall.
The Gulf Coast Community Foundation joined the effort in January, posting the project on their web portal, and is assisting with the campaign to fund the study’s second phase.
Trail Study Fund-Raising Goal Reached!
With the support of hundreds of trail enthusiasts The Friends of The Legacy Trail (FLT) has met the County’s challenge to fund 50 percent of the cost of an engineering study of the feasibility of extending The Legacy Trail from its current terminus in Palmer Ranch 7.5 miles north to Payne Park in downtown Sarasota. Like the original section, the new segment will follow the corridor originally assembled by the Seaboard Airline Railroad around the turn of the 20th century.
Not only valued as a recreation and fitness amenity, the Trail offers a window into local history and our area’s environment and the original segment is also recognized as part of the economic engine of our community. Those attributes and an appreciation for how the Trail cultivates the spirit of community helped to bring a broad range of partners to the table to help us meet the $72,251 goal.
The major contributors include Rob Harlan, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Capt. Eddie’s Seafood Restaurant with help from the Bonfire Jam Band, the participants and volunteers for the Tour de Parks Fun Ride, The Friends of Sarasota County Parks and their donors, Palmer Ranch Holdings, Pulte Homes, Taylor Morrison Homes, Sharky’s Ride The Beaches, Sarasota Manatee Bike Club, and Coastal Cruisers Bike Club.