County staff work with railroad company to remove tracks on proposed Legacy Trail

Updated: Nov. 14, 2019 at 7:56 PM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Construction to extend the Legacy Trail from North Port to Downtown Sarasota is expected to begin next year.

Back in June, Sarasota County acquired the railroad corridor to use for connecting the trail and staff said the railroad company is in the process of removing the tracks along the corridor.

Though in the meantime, drivers who frequent this area aren’t happy with what they’re calling a lack of road maintenance.

“It’s rough,” said Scott Anderson. “I’m another one who slows down quite a bit, too, as I approach [the tracks] because of the roughness. It causes my wheels to kind of, hop off the ground.”

Anderson works at a car wash on one side of the tracks and lives on the other. He said he drives over them at least four times a day.

“I think it could, over time, do damage to the vehicles that continue to go over that, you know, several times or half a dozen times on a daily basis," said Anderson.

Michael Derylak is painting a home in the neighborhood right next to the tracks and he agreed.

“I would say the road is very, it’s not safe. It’s not drive-able," Derylak said. "You have a lot of divots in it and it causes wheels to swerve sometimes, so I think they should get on it and do a better thing for the area.”

Sarasota County staff said the railroad company is working on it.

“The railroad company is on site, removing rails, connectors and things like these. This is a really important step as we move forward with the development of the trail," said a staff member in a county video posted at the end of August.

The railroad is one of many pieces in a puzzle involving several other agencies.

At the end of August, staff said the railroad company would be in the railroad corridor removing the tracks for the next few months.

The railroad owned the rights to the actual rails, so they are removing them and reusing them. Staff said part of the county’s plans include planning for and building surface level trail improvements.

The Florida Department of Transportation will be building overpasses at Clark Road and Bee Ridge Road in 2023.

“I think it’s a great idea," said Derylak. “It’ll help the county out as far as more people coming to the area and see how beautiful Sarasota really is.”

Sarasota County hosted another public meeting Thursday to give the community the change to discuss trail designs and amenities. For more information about the trail’s progress, click here.

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