When choosing a name for a new child, parents often spend hours poring over baby books, but when county staff planned names for new Legacy Trail trailheads, they took cues from a map.
On March 23, County Commission unanimously approved names for three new Legacy Trail trailheads, all related to the area in which they’re located.
The Sarasota County code outlines criteria for naming county-owned properties. Selection criteria includes names that follow geographic location, historical value and individuals or groups that are well-known or who have positively influenced a large populace of the county.
When considering names for county landmarks, an ad hoc committee is formed to deliberate possibilities. The committee chosen for the Legacy Trail trailheads received 21 submissions with 44 name suggestions during a 30-day solicitation period.
After discussing all its options, the committee chose the trailhead names largely by geographic location and ease for users to locate the new trailheads, according to county documents. The new trailheads are as follows:
- Ashton Trailhead at 4031 Ashton Road;
- Sarasota Springs Trailhead at 4010 Webber St.; and
- Pompano Trailhead at 601 S. Pompano Ave.
County documents state there is potential for future marketing opportunities and naming sponsorships at the two larger trailheads on Ashton Road and Pompano Avenue.
The extension will add 7.9 miles to the trail, ultimately connecting Payne Park in Sarasota to Venice. Upon completion, the extensions will create more than 20 miles of continuous non-motorized paved trail.
Director of Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Nicole Rissler said upon completion, the trail will be a source of pride for the community.
“It really is a connection for the entire community, and it’s a legacy project that years from now we’ll be able to look back and say, ‘Wow, that is a true amenity that makes our community world class,’” Rissler said.
Construction on the three extension phases is under way with segment one, a standalone segment from Proctor Road to Bahia Vista Street, scheduled to open in April.
Segment two, which links the northern terminus at Culverhouse Nature Park to Proctor Road, and segment three, which stretches from Bahia Vista Street to Ringling Boulevard, are scheduled to open by the end of 2022.
Each of the new trailheads, which will be constructed as work on the three new trail segments continue, will offer parking and various activity areas.
Ashton Road Trailhead
The Ashton Road Trailhead is a 2.53 acre site that was acquired by the county in 1985 for $55,400.
The trailhead is located across from the Sarasota County North Fleet and Sarasota County Area Transit facilities. It sits just west of McIntosh Road approximately a half-mile north of Clark Road.
A park planned for the trailhead will include parking, restrooms, a playground and spaces for mobile vending.
Sarasota Springs Trailhead
The Sarasota Springs Trailhead got its name from the Sarasota Springs neighborhood in which it is located.
The trailhead will sit on a 1.6-acre property that was acquired through the county’s Neighborhood Parklands Acquisition Program. Purchased in April 2020 for $188,000, it is the newest and most expensive of the three trailheads.
The trailhead park will include parking, restrooms and a playground.
The Pompano Trailhead comprises 5.1 acres and was acquired by the county in 1964.
It previously was leased to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles department for use as a Department of Motor Vehicles site. After the DMV closed, the property reverted to county management.
The trailhead is located along the trail corridor as it turns toward Payne Park and downtown Sarasota, which will serve as the end of the trail. It will sit adjacent to Babe Ruth Park.
The old DMV building will be converted into community center that will house park offices and meeting spaces.
The trailhead park also will include pickle ball courts and a bicycle safety course.