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Property owners get cash for Legacy Trail land

Although some land claims are still pending resolution, that won’t affect the county’s plans to construct the northern extension of the Legacy Trail into Payne Park.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. February 25, 2021
The county hopes to open the first phase of the trail extension later this year, with the entire project finished in 2022.
The county hopes to open the first phase of the trail extension later this year, with the entire project finished in 2022.
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As Sarasota County works on a nearly 8-mile extension of Legacy Trail, the federal government has awarded $1.3 million to property owners with claims to land between Ashton Road and Payne Park.

In 2017, after the county moved forward with plans to extend the Legacy Trail from Palmer Ranch to Payne Park, attorney Lindsay Brinton started to search for individuals who believed they own the property the county intended to use.

The county worked with the Trust for Public Land to purchase a rail corridor to facilitate the northern extension after voters approved a $65 million bond referendum, but some property owners contend the railway companies did not own the land and did not have the right to sell it.

Ownership disputes are common for rails-to-trails projects, according to those involved with the Legacy Trail extension. Brinton and Meghan Largent, attorneys with St. Louis-based law firm Lewis Rice, previously helped secure $10 million for individuals with property claims to the land used for the initial phase of the Legacy Trail. Largent and Brinton represent more than 40 additional individuals whose claims to land along the northern extension are in the final stages of settlement, according to a release.

The county is not involved with the legal dispute over land ownership, and the outstanding claims are not affecting plans for construction, a county spokesperson said.

The first section of the extension, running from Proctor Road to Bahia Vista Street, is scheduled to open this summer. The second and third phases, running from Culverhouse Nature Park to Proctor Road and from Bahia Vista Street to Payne Park, are scheduled for completion in early 2022.

The county also intends to open trailheads at Webber Street and Ashton Road in early 2022. A trailhead at Pompano Avenue and a North Port Connector are scheduled for completion in late 2022.


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