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Tri-County Trail Talk Set for Thursday

Pasco and Pinellas residents who want to learn more about the proposed connector trail are invited to a workshop April 18.

Tri-County Trail Talk Set for Thursday

While a proposed connector that would link the Pinellas Trail with the Starkey Wilderness Trail is still a dream for the future, planners want to hear from New Port Richey residents now.

A workshop meeting with residents has been called by the Metropolitan Planning Organizations of both Pasco and Pinellas counties. That meeting takes place Thursday, April 18 at the Brooker Creek Preserve Environmental Education Center, 3940 Keystone Road, in Tarpon Springs. It runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

During the workshop, MPO representatives and planners from URS Corporation, Design and Engineering Consultants will discuss the proposed 7-mile  link that will eventually connect the Pinellas Trail and the Brooker Creek Preserve with Pasco County’s Starkey Boulevard/Starkey Wilderness Trail. Ultimately, the connection will hook those trails to the state’s Suncoast Trail, providing pedestrian and bike access from Pinellas, through Pasco and into Hernando County and beyond.

Manny Lajmiri, senior planner with Pasco’s MPO, says an alignment for the connection hasn’t been decided upon yet. A study, however, is under way to identify a preferred route. Lajmiri anticipates a route will be selected in about two to three months.

Funding to build the trail connector will be shared between Pasco and Pinellas counties, with each county responsible for funding its section of the trail, Lajmiri said.

“Pasco County has selected this trail connection as a candidate trail project to be funded with the new Penny for Pasco,” Lajmiri said. That is a 1-cent sales tax in Pasco that helps fund school construction and community projects, such as the trail connector. The new round of Penny for Pasco funding begins coming into county coffers in January 2015.

Pinellas County hasn’t set aside funding yet, Lajmiri said. The hope, however, is to have funding in place by 2015.

Why is the Connection Important?

Lajmiri said this particular connector trail will enable bikers and pedestrians to enjoy access to more than 90 miles of trails.

“This connection will fill in a gap between Pinellas Trail (42 miles) to Starkey Boulevard Trail (about 5 miles) and the Starkey Wilderness Park Trail (7 miles) with connection to the Suncoast Trail (42 miles).”

What to Expect from Thursday’s Meeting

During the workshop, attendees can take a look at the map of the trail study area and share their input and ideas about the proposed connector. This is the first of two workshops related to the project.

For more details contact:

What do you think about the proposed connection? Share your opinions by commenting below!

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