The Legacy Trail, which opened in 2008, provides a safe, recreational trail for walking, bicycling and running. Work is underway to extend the trail and enhance connectivity from the City of North Port through Venice to downtown Sarasota.
On April 10, the Sarasota County Commission added the Legacy Trail extension project to the county's fiscal year 2019-23 Capital Improvement Program. The commission also amended the fiscal year 2019 budget to appropriate approximately $37 million in funding for the project.
In an effort to complete the Legacy Trail extension project expeditiously, Sarasota County asked the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to replace the Shared-Use Nonmotorized (SUN) Trail Program funding of the extension from Culverhouse Nature Park to Ashton Road with the construction of pedestrian overpasses at both Bee Ridge and Clark roads. FDOT has approved this change and will perform the design, construction and bidding of these two overpasses. FDOT has made the official change to the work program.
Sarasota County acquired the rail corridor on June 27. In May, the Surface Transportation Board approved the county’s request for interim trail use. This will allow the county to use the railroad corridor as a trail.
On June 5, 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. Thirty percent plans of the first segment were completed in September and 100 percent completed in March 2020.
On Sept. 10, the Sarasota County Commission approved an agreement with Jon F. Swift, Inc. as the project's construction manager. Jon F. Swift has started working with Kimley-Horn and Associates as well as county staff to bring this project to the community.
Survey crews are out along the corridor for the Legacy Trail Extension Project completing elevation surveys.
The railroad company continues to remove the railroad tracks along the corridor.
(as of Oct. 23, 2019)
On Nov. 6, 2018, Sarasota County voters approved a referendum to acquire and improve The Legacy Trail extension railroad corridor as a safe trail for walking, running and cycling. The nearly 8-mile extension will also enhance connectivity from North Port through Venice to downtown Sarasota, and include improvements such as crossings, overpasses at Clark Road and Bee Ridge Road, amenities and increased accessibility.
- Create nearly 30 miles of continuous non-motorized paved multi-use trail, which could become a regional connection between Manatee, Sarasota, DeSoto and Charlotte counties.
- Provide access to local neighborhoods and place 27 schools within one linear mile of the Legacy Trail; another 45 would be within two linear miles.
- Enhance connectivity from the City of North Port through Venice to downtown Sarasota.
Since the passage of the referendum, Sarasota County has completed its due diligence. During this period, the county was able to review the survey and title report, as well as conduct any inspections or investigations of the physical and environmental condition of the property deemed necessary.
The deed requires the corridor not be used for any other purpose other than a recreational trail or rail service.
Construction will be completed in three segments. Segment one begins at Proctor Road and extends north to the intersection of Bahia Vista Street. Segment two will begin at Culverhouse Nature Center and extend north to Proctor Road. Segment three begins at Bahia Vista Street and extends to Ringling Boulevard. In addition, the North Port Connector will extend from Forbes Trail to West Price Boulevard.
Funding for the Legacy Trail extension will be provided by general obligation bonds and repaid by ad valorem taxes.
On June 25, the initial bond draw closed for funding the acquisition of the extension, design and initial construction. A second bond draw will occur just prior to major construction activities.
In 2008, The Legacy Trail opened, providing more than 10 miles of trail from the Venice Train Depot to Culverhouse Nature Park. Prior to becoming a popular recreational trail, it served as a railroad corridor.
March 22 - On March 6, Sarasota County's advertisement for the design Request for Professional Services closed. Staff is reviewing the proposals. Once a firm is selected, the design contract will be brought before the county commission for approval. The design contract is expected to be approved by July 10. In spring 2019, the signing of the bond, which was approved by the November 2018 referendum, will take place. Stay tuned for construction updates.
March 1 - On Feb. 1, Sarasota County advertised the design Request for Professional Services, which will close on March 6. Following this date, the design contract will be brought before the county commission for approval. The design contract is expected to be approved by July 10.
April 10 - The Sarasota County Commission added the Legacy Trail extension project to the county's fiscal year 2019-23 Capital Improvement Program. The commission also amended the fiscal year 2019 budget to appropriate approximately $37 million in funding for the project.
April 22 - The county submitted the request for interim trail use with the Surface Transportation Board. Once approved, this will allow the county to use the railroad corridor as a trail. The county expects to receive final rail banking in mid-May.