Manatee County Government Administrative Center Commission Chambers, First Floor 9:15 a.m. - January 10, 2017
January 10, 2017 - Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #32

Proposed Gateway Greenway Trail Conceptual Plan


Contact and/or Presenter Information
Charlie Hunsicker, Director, Parks and Natural Resources Department

Action Requested
Approval to proceed with a conceptual alignment plan for the Gateway Greenway Trail alignment from State Road 64 south to the Sarasota County line and adoption of Budget Resolution B-17-026 amending the Annual Budget of Manatee County, FL, for Fiscal Year 2017.

Enabling/Regulating Authority
Florida Statute 125

Background Discussion

In 2002 Manatee County Commissioners approved a trails master plan outlining potential trail alignments to connect businesses, parks, and residential areas along public rights of way, off road trail alignments, and connecting trails already provided in Manatee County parks and preserves.  With the great recession of 2007, funding for implementation of the Master Plan Park Trail System was reduced.  Since that time, trail construction within County owned parks and preserves such as Duette Preserve, Robinson Preserve, Perico Preserve, Neal Preserve, Bennett Park, and Conservatory Park have been constructed utilizing a number of trail grant sources from state and federal agencies.  What has been lacking, however, is the ability to connect these and many other parks and preserves with a multi-purpose trail system traveling the great distances between these important places and other points of interest around Manatee County.  A work session with the Board will be scheduled in the spring of 2017 to review the 2002 Master Plan for updates and amendments seeking Board consensus for focus on specific trails for implementation utilizing impact fee funding. 

In response to these unmet needs, opportunities for funding under competitive grants obtained through the Manatee/Sarasota Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), and the potential for increasing impact fee collections as Manatee County comes out of the recession into strong recovery, a renewed focus of master plan implementation for two multi-purpose pedestrian trails has already begun. 

The first of these two trails of opportunity is the Willow-Ellenton Rails with Trails plan between FPL property on the northern Manatee County border south to US 301 in Ellenton.  A $511,111 planning grant has been obtained from the MPO to complete a trail alignment and survey of the proposed trail paralleling the FPL owned railroad tracks in north Manatee County following the route described above.  A full report on this particular grant and the opportunities in the future for moving to trail construction will be presented at the spring work session with the Board.

The second of two trials of opportunity is the cross country Gateway Greenway Trail connecting Hillsborough County near Safford Road, south to Lake Manatee State Park and proceeding further south to the Sarasota County line (please see attachment 1).  The principal advantage of this cross country trail system is that it serves as a connecting link between Hillsborough County and points north, to Sarasota County and points south for a statewide network of trails along the Southwest coast of Florida.   The right of way for this potential trail already exists between State Road 64 south to the Sarasota County line.  From points beginning at Lake Manatee State Park and proceeding north to the Hillsborough County line, the proposed trail alignment follows state and county owned rights of way and preserve properties such that land acquisition costs will be minimized. 

The trail section passing from State Route 64 to the Sarasota County line parallels property under the control of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch (please see attachment 2).  As such there is significant potential for working with the planners and land developers of SMR properties to coordinate the conceptual alignment of the County Multi-Purpose trail with public and private facilities of SMR and the other companies undertaking residential developments.  SMR has indicated that with the advanced planning that has taken place for the build out of SMR properties, there is a unique and timely opportunity in the next several months to coordinate the County‚Äôs conceptual planning efforts with the advanced planning being completed by SMR, and obtain considerable cost savings for future construction forged through private/public partnership.   

Because time is of the essence, the County needs to act quickly to retain professional trail planning expertise to coordinate plans for the Multi-Purpose trail alignment with SMR.  Stantec Corporation, Inc., is poised to provide this assistance under their existing General Services Agreement with the company.  It is recommended that $60,000 be designated from the Parks and Recreation Impact Fee Fund to support a work assignment with Stantec to complete a conceptual trail alignment and plan for those trail segments of the Gateway Greenway Trail through SMR properties.  (Please see Budget Resolution B-17-026 amending the Annual Budget of Manatee County, FL, for Fiscal Year 2017.)

County Attorney Review
Not Reviewed (No apparent legal issues)

Explanation of Other

Reviewing Attorney

Instructions to Board Records

Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name
$60,000 - Parks Impact Fees

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs

Attachment:  Budget Resolution B17026.pdf
Attachment:  proposed gateway trail path.pdf
Attachment:  proposed gateway trail path near sr 70.pdf