City Commission takes another step with plans for construction of Alderman Multi-Use Recreational Trail connector to Legacy Trail

Formal budget amendment approved for project this fiscal year

This graphic shows the Alderman MURT connector to School Avenue. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

On a unanimous vote this week, the Sarasota City commissioners formally approved a budget amendment reflecting a $400,000 grant that the city has received from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for the construction of what is being called the Alderman Multi-Use Recreational Trail (MURT).

The March 18 Agenda Request Form for the item noted that City Manager Marlon Brown singed the standard grant agreement with FDOT on July 12, 2023. The project, the form explains, will consist of engineering, design, surveying, permitting and finally the construction of the 1,170-linear-foot, 14-foot-wide trail, along with a shade shelter, trash receptacles, benches, tables, a bike rack, a drinking foundation, lighting, educational and informational signage, and landscaping.

The city has to put up $375,000 as a match for the state funds, the form notes. That money will come out of Multi Modal Transportation Impact Fees revenue, the form says.

In October 2023, city staff noted the expectation that the project would get underway in the latter part of this year.

As city staff has explained in the past, the MURT will be constructed as the connector from south Payne Park to The Legacy Trail at the latter’s School Avenue junction. That will enable The Legacy Trail to tie into protected bike lanes on the Ringling Trail in downtown Sarasota “and offer shorter travel distances for those bicycling, walking or using mobility assistance devices” to reach other locations within the city.

The Legacy Trail stretches for almost 20 miles from Venice to School Avenue, a Sarasota County Government document says. The Trail extends about 10 more miles from Venice to North Port.

This map also shows the site of the proposed Alderman MURT. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

A related October 2023 report prepared for the city by PaleoWest LLC of Tallahassee — a copy of which The Sarasota News Leader found through the city website — explains that the MURT will extend from School Avenue through the southern edge of Payne Park, including a connection to South East Avenue, and then along the north side of Alderman Street, for approximately 0.25 miles.

During the March 18 City Commission meeting, one city resident, Pearlie Freiberg, did express concern about any tree trimming that would be scheduled in conjunction with the project. She also referenced the Payne Park Master Plan, which — she said — was created circa 2003. That plan, she continued, shows that “Alderman Street is a 50-foot-wide public right of way. It is also known as South Payne Parkway.”

Moreover, Freiberg said, the master plan “consistently says” that … Alderman Street should be extended to School Avenue.