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 now 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 are expected to be completed by Sept. 12 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. The railroad company is removing the railroad tracks along the corridor.
(as of Sept. 12, 2019)
- Create nearly 30 miles of non-motorized paved multi-use trail, which potentially 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.
- Support access to Siesta Beach, Nathan Benderson Park, Ed Smith Stadium (Baltimore Orioles spring training facility) and the Youth Athletic Complex (an international Supercross BMX training facility) all economic drivers to Sarasota County.
Since the passage of the referendum, Sarasota County has been performing 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 will require the corridor not be used for any other purpose other than a recreational trail or rail service.
Construction will be completed in two phases. Phase one begins at Culverhouse Nature Park and extends north to the intersection of Ashton Road for an approximate length of 1.7 miles. It includes a 0.9-mile spur. Phase two will begin at the intersection of Ashton Road and extend north to Fruitville Road for an approximate length of 6 miles. It will include a 0.5-mile spur. This phase will include connections in Venice and North Port and at other locations along the trail.
Funding for the Legacy Trail extension will be provided by general obligation bonds and repaid by ad valorem taxes.
On Nov. 6, 2018, Sarasota County residents approved the issuance of general obligation bonds for the Legacy Trail extension.
On June 4, Sarasota County will be selling a portion of those bonds to pay for the railroad land and initial design costs via a competitive process to the financial institutions that can provide the county the lowest true interest cost. After this sale, the bonds will be available for residents to purchase through their respective financial institution.
If you are interested in supporting the community's municipal bonds, contact your financial institution and ask to purchase Sarasota County General Obligation Bonds (Legacy Trail Project), Series 2019.
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.