Construction of Trail extensions could start this summer, if all permits can be secured in time, staff says
The Legacy Trail Extension Project has taken another step forward, thanks to the Sarasota County Commission’s unanimous approval of its May 20 Consent Agenda of routine business items.
With its vote, the board approved an increase in its June 2019 contract with Kimley-Horn of Sarasota for the design of the Pompano Avenue Trailhead in Sarasota. The contract amendment raises the payment to the firm from $5,265,272.82 to $5,557,712.82, an increase of $292,440.
A staff memo provided to the commission in advance of the May 20 meeting says that since the commission approved the Kimley-Horn contract in June 2019, the county’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department “has identified additional recreational opportunities appropriate for the Pompano Avenue Trailhead site.” The contract amendment will enable Kimley-Horn to design pickleball courts, a community center and “additional recreational amenities” at the trailhead, the memo added.
The design of the Pompano Trailhead is anticipated to be completed within 210 days, the memo said.
The Scope of Services, as detailed in an exhibit attached to the Kimley-Horn contract amendment, explains that the Pompano site is a 5-acre county-owned property within the city of Sarasota; it is to the immediate south of Babe Ruth Park and east of the Sarasota County Fairgrounds. An existing building on the site will be transformed into a community center, the document says.
The pickleball complex at the Pompano Trailhead is to have 12 fenced courts — two sets of six courts each — the exhibit adds. The minimum amount of parking in the design must be four spaces per court, the document says.
Additionally, a four-stall restroom facility is planned on the event lawn, “with chilled drinking fountain, bike rack, and mobile restroom hook-ups (water, sewer, electric) …” A picnic pavilion on the event lawn will have six 8-foot-long tables. Shaded seating and sidewalks also will be facets of the event lawn design.
The Scope of Services further notes that the design is to include a “Bike Park for youth bicycle training,” plus a storage facility; a playground for children ages 5 to 12, which will include a climbing wall and a half-court basketball court; and two, one-table picnic shelters. Pedestrian access is to be provided to Babe Ruth Park, “so patrons [of the park] can utilize this facility,” the exhibit says.
Parking also is to be provided “for trailhead needs,” the exhibit points out, along with space for up to six food trucks “and the County’s mobile restroom trailer for special events.”
The Scope of Services further calls for the design to “[m]aintain as much of the existing forested areas of the site, as is practical, to provide a buffer between future park activities and surrounding neighborhoods, to offer on-site passive recreational opportunities, and to potentially serve as a stormwater management area …”
The document points out that Kimley-Horn staff should “assume that exotic invasive vegetation shall be removed from the site as part of this project.”
Additionally, the Scope of Services says the design should incorporate “appropriate pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular connections to adjacent sites and neighborhoods,” with appropriate Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) access.
The May 20 staff memo noted that, on July 8, staff expects to be back before the commission with a proposed agreement involving engineering and inspection services “for full construction” of The Legacy Trail extensions.
During the Nov. 6, 2018 General Election, Sarasota County voters approved a referendum that allows the county to issue up to $65 million in bonds to pay for the North Extension of The Legacy Trail from Palmer Ranch to Payne Park in downtown Sarasota, which is a distance of 8 miles. Bond proceeds also will cover the expense of a connector from Venice to North Port. That will add approximately 4.5 miles to the county’s “interconnected trail system,” the May 20 staff memo said.
In April 2019, the commission approved the issuance of $37 million in bonds for The Legacy Trail work.
The county webpage devoted to updates on the extension projects says, “If all permits required … are issued on schedule, construction is expected to start this summer.” That webpage also points out that the design plans for the first segment of the North Extension — from Proctor Road to Bahia Vista Street — were at the 90% stage in April. The Segment 2 plans — for the stretch from Culverhouse Nature Park on Palmer Ranch to Ashton Road — were at the 60% mark in March.
The Segment 3 design plans — which cover the portion from Bahia Vista Street to Ringling Boulevard, with the Pompano Trailhead — also were 60% complete in April. Finally, the North Port Connector design was at the 30% mark in March, the webpage adds. The page was updated on May 15, it notes.