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Sarasota Thursday, May. 27, 2010 7 years ago

Osprey's new trailhead plans revealed

by: Robin Roy City Editor

Two years after the county completed the purchase of Dennis Marlin’s 10-acre property bordering The Legacy Trail, it has finally revealed its plans to build a trailhead park there.

The property lies at the eastern end of East Bay Street in Osprey, and its former owner wanted to sell it to the county to turn into a park. Marlin had received several multi-million-dollar offers from developers wanting to place homes or condos there, but the lifelong Osprey resident wanted a park to be his legacy.

The county purchased the property for $2.9 million in 2008, and it presented an initial sketch of the East Bay Trailhead Park last week to nearby residents.

Wanting to put a trailhead at approximately 1-mile increments, the East Bay Street property was a perfect fit. It will serve people wanting to access the trail and those already on the trail who are looking for a rest stop.

The trailhead park will retain Marlin’s home, which will be converted into a meeting space.

It could be used by the Friends of The Legacy Trail group, said John McCarthy, parks and recreation general manager, and by other Osprey groups, because there is a lack of meeting space in Osprey.

In the short term, the county would provide a parking lot for several dozen cars. The lot would border the trail on the eastern-most portion of the property.

Also planned are nature trails, educational signs, bike racks, two-pole shelters and a water fountain.

Long-term plans call for a picnic pavilion, open play field and restrooms.

Most of the concern from neighbors didn’t have to do with the park itself, but the roads leading to the park.

The trailhead will be on the east side of the intersection of East Bay Street and Pine Ranch East Road, which is an ungated private road.

Some residents along Pine Ranch East Road were annoyed that the county was “inviting more traffic” on the private road by building the trailhead park.

Others said the condition of Pine Ranch East Road was already bad and that increased traffic would only make it worse. They asked McCarthy if the county would help repair the road.

With the purchase of the property, the county bought a portion of the roadway. The entire length of the two-lane Pine Ranch East Road is more than a mile. The county owns only the eastern lane of approximately one-tenth of a mile.

McCarthy said the county would not pay to repair the entire road.

The property will only be known as the East Bay Trailhead Park for a short time. The process of coming up with a new name will begin in June. Residents will be asked to submit suggestions, and the commission will select a park name in September.

If approved, construction on the park would begin later this year.

Contact Robin Roy at [email protected]

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