Group provides check for $63,590
In 2013, members of The Friends of The Legacy Trail accepted a challenge: to raise $75,000 to fund a feasibility study with design options for the planned 7.5-mile North Extension of the Trail from Culverhouse Nature Park at Palmer Ranch to Payne Park in downtown Sarasota.
On Aug. 23, the nonprofit organization presented a check for $63,590 to the Sarasota County Commission. Combining that with $14,824 the Friends gave the county in 2014, Vice President Bruce Dillon explained, the commitment was more than paid in full.
The presentation came at the beginning of the commission’s regular meeting on Aug. 23 in Sarasota. When Chair Al Maio asked representatives of the Friends of The Legacy Trail and Friends of Sarasota County Parks to come forward, he told audience members that he is aware people often end up “staring at the ceiling” when board members read proclamations. This time, he urged everyone in the board chambers, “concentrate on all the numbers in what I am going to read.”
The Trail, which the county acquired in 2004, Maio continued, is the largest public recreation project in Sarasota County. It encompasses more than 12 miles from Culverhouse Nature Park to Venice.
The Friends of The Legacy Trail, he pointed out, has more than 900 members. This year alone, he added, they have volunteered more than 6,500 hours to making Sarasota County a better place for all residents to live, work and play.
Thanks to the group’s fundraising efforts, Maio said, a delegation was present that morning “to make another substantial donation” to the county.
After Dillon presented the check to the five commissioners, he explained that the Friends organization has three primary projects: ongoing maintenance of the Trail; educating people about safety on the Trail; and “adding some [informational] kiosks to The Legacy Trail.”
An essay featured on the Friends’ website — written by Megan Donoghue of the county’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department — says, “The [organization’s members] do a phenomenal job at increasing awareness and improving the user experience on the Trail. Volunteer Ambassador Patrols keep the Trail safe and in shape by being that extra set of eyes.”
Dillon also told the commissioners and audience members on Aug. 23 that the group hopes to create a plan to turn the Osprey Junction Trail head into a visitors’ center, “if it’s possible.”
The organization’s members appreciate the support they receive in all their efforts, he added.
With that, the commissioners joined Dillon in holding the oversized mock-up of a check for a photo op.