SARASOTA — North Port residents yearning to use Sarasota County’s Legacy Trail from their own community may see their hopes come to fruition sooner rather than later.
In an update about progress on the Legacy Trail to county commissioners Tuesday, Parks and Recreation Director Nicole Rissler revealed that the three planned connections into the city could be complete by 2022.
Also Tuesday, commissioners added the Legacy Trail connections into North Port into the county’s capital improvements program and approving a $7 million contract with Jon F. Swift Inc. for construction phase services.
“We’re well ahead of where we thought we were going to be,” Rissler told commissioners.
The three connections into North Port are:
• Powerline Trail connecting Border Road through the Carlton and Big Slough Preserves to Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park.
• Deer Prairie Creek Route connecting the east end of Forbes Trail to the south entrance of Deer Prairie Creek.
• Schewe Route running along I-75 before turning south and connecting with Warm Mineral Springs.
While the plans include running the Schewe Route to Warm Mineral Springs, Rissler stressed that right now the county is waiting on city staff to complete the Warm Mineral Springs master plan “so we can do this correctly,” she said.
The current project then calls for the Schewe Route to be completed to Price Boulevard, with a future project to extend the trail to Warm Mineral Springs once the master plan is complete.
In response to questions from Commissioner Nancy Detert, Rissler said the Schewe route is designed to be a paved trail, not gravel, to provide “a Legacy type experience.”
“I want to reassure them (North Port) that it will be paved,” Detert said.
“This is going to be an incredible amenity for North Port,” Commissioner Christian Ziegler added.
Rissler also reported that work on the northward extension of the trail from the Culverhouse Nature Park into downtown Sarasota is continuing with substantial progress being made.
The first segment of that extension from Bahia Vista Street to Proctor Road should be complete this summer, followed by the other two segments in early 2022.
When completed, the project will offer 30 miles of nonmotorized trails Rissler said.
County voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum in 2018 allowing the county to borrow the funds to both purchase and construct the Legacy Trail Extension. The connections to North Port were a last-minute addition to entice North Port voters to support the referendum.