Sarasota is known for a healthy and active living woven across the charms of the multi-use, recreational Legacy Trail. This lifestyle anchor shall soon extend to more local communities and bring another boon to the value of many Sarasota homes for sale.
Ideal for walking, running, and biking, the Legacy Trail is set to be extended at a cost of $65-million. The extension project covers 7.5 miles starting south from Clark Road northward to Fruitville Road. Eventually, the trail will link with the Coon Key multi-use trail now being built for completion this year as a new pedestrian and biking route to St. Armands Circle.
The construction of the first phase of the Legacy Trail extension is scheduled to start and be finished this year. This initial extension will open a new trail segment from Proctor Road to Bahia Vista Street. The later stages of the trail extension will continue from Bahia Vista, curving west to Payne Park and proceeding onward to downtown Sarasota.
Several structures will be built to complete the extension of the trail, formerly a section of the Seminole Gulf Railway corridor. In 2004, Sarasota County bought a 12.5-mile segment of the abandoned rail tracks from Palmer Ranch south to Venice. The county developed this stretch into the Legacy Trail and opened it to the public in 2008. Under the current extension project, another 8 miles to the north will be added to the trail.
The new structures set for the trail extension include two bridges over Philippi Creek. The Florida Department of Transportation will also construct two trail overpasses: one at Clark Road and another at Bee Ridge Road.
For the convenience of trail visitors, there will be new trailheads at Ashton Road, Webber Street and Tuttle Avenue near Fruitville Road. High-intensity crosswalk beacons will also be installed on major streets that the trail extension intersects, for safe and easy access.
The extended trail is expected to foster a stronger sense of community, linking residents and neighborhoods along its stretch. More locals, for instance, will be able to experience charming communities like Pinecraft, Sarasota’s Amish neighborhood featuring quaint shops and cuisine. The trail extension also opens the possibility of bringing in more visitors and new pep to places like Payne Park east of downtown Sarasota.
Alternative route for commuters
The Legacy Trail extension, projected to be fully completed by 2022, likewise looms as a popular transportation corridor to Sarasota workplaces and business centers. Notably, e-bikes have recently been allowed in the trail that will cover 20.2 miles when the extension is finished. It is estimated that more than 200,000 walkers, runners and bikers use the Legacy Trail annually.
A $65-million bond approved by Sarasota residents in a 2018 referendum is the main source of funding for the trail extension. Local fundraisers for the project have also been organized. One is the Tour de Parks, an annual event in the trail itself which reels off this March 22.
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