The Trust for Public Land Awarded $50,000 Grant to Support the Legacy Trail Extension into Downtown Sarasota

County and Community Leaders Aim to Transform Railroad Right-of-Way into Walking and Biking Path Serving Residents and Visitors

November 30, 2016
Sarasota, FL

The Trust for Public Land announced today that it has received a $50,000 grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation to help extend The Legacy Trail into downtown Sarasota. Funds will be used to support appraisals, boundary surveys, environmental assessments and other project expenses needed to advance the proposed acquisition of approximately eight miles of rail corridor needed for the extension project.

Once the acquisition is complete, county officials plan to build a pedestrian and bike path connecting downtown Sarasota to the existing Legacy Trail, which currently ends south of the Sarasota city limit. The trail is enjoyed by more than 120,000 users annually. Together with connections to the Venetian Waterway Park and the Carlton – Myakkahatchee Trail, The Legacy Trail extension project will connect Sarasota with Venice and North Port in southern Sarasota County.

The trail improves off-road access to many landmark attractions in Sarasota County, including the world-famous Siesta Beach, Nathan Benderson Park (home of the 2017 World Rowing Championships), Ed Smith Stadium (spring training facility for the Baltimore Orioles), and the Youth Athletic Complex (an Olympic BMX training facility). Extending The Legacy Trail into downtown Sarasota is a top priority of the Sarasota County Commission.

“With this grant from Gulf Coast, The Trust for Public Land can leverage it with our own and those of other private and public partners who support  bringing The Legacy Trail into the vibrant heart of Sarasota. The downtown extension will expand recreational opportunities for thousands of families and neighborhoods, and bring additional tourism revenue to our area,” said Doug Hattaway, Senior Project Manager for The Trust for Public Land.

“The Legacy Trail is for everyone, and the benefits of extending it are numerous and well-documented,” said Mark Pritchett, president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “When the project is complete, it will expand fitness options, preserve parkland, provide an economic-development draw, and better connect our communities.”