Pinellas Trail Turns 25
Pinellas County has scheduled a celebration of the trail’s birthday.
PINELLAS – It’s been 25 years since the first section of the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail opened to the public. On Saturday (Dec. 5), Pinellas County will join members of the non-profit Pinellas Trails, Inc., to celebrate the trail’s silver anniversary at John Taylor Park, 1100 Eighth Ave. SW, Largo.
The event will begin at 10 a.m. with a series of speakers who will discuss how the Pinellas Trail became a model of outdoor recreation across Florida and its future connection to other trails in the region and state. Among those expected to speak are local residents who conceived the idea for the trail, elected officials and national leaders in outdoor recreation.
Pinellas County resident Bert Valery will recount the beginnings of the trail. U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-FL, is also slated to speak as well as leaders from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, which has inducted the Pinellas Trail into its national hall of fame. Members of the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners and other local officials also plan to attend the ceremony.
The trail is named for former Pinellas County Administrator Fred Marquis, who was instrumental in promoting it. He will also be attending the anniversary event.
In 1990, the first section of the Pinellas Trail opened in an abandoned CSX railroad right of way connecting Taylor Park to Lake Seminole Park. The passage of the Penny for Pinellas 1-cent local option sales tax spurred its expansion from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs. An average of 70,000 people now use the trail each month for bicycling, walking, skating and jogging.
For information about the Pinellas Trail, including photos, facts, maps and a detailed history, go to pinellascounty.org.
Photo courtesy of Pinellas County.
Pinellas Trail | Fred Marquis | David Jolly | Pinellas County | TB Reporter
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