Lifestyle-enhancing Greenways: Now a Priority in Manatee


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, July 27th, 2016 – More recreational opportunities revolving around carless trails and pathways may soon add to the perks of living in Bradenton and eastern areas in Manatee like Ellenton and Parrish.

The county’s Greenways Master Plan, on mothballs for over a decade now due to lack of funding, appears ready for takeoff. In June 2016, the Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) approved the Willow-Ellenton Greenway and the AMI SUN Trail for inclusion in the Regional Project Priorities list, thus making these projects eligible for state funding.

FDOT Support

Lifestyle-enhancing Greenways: Now a Priority in Manatee

The Willow-Ellenton Greenway is planned roughly parallel to U.S. 301 from Ellenton-Gillete Road to Erie Road adjacent to the railroad tracks running from Ellenton to Parrish. The AMI SUN Trail, on the other hand, is a proposed 26-mile commuter route spanning five Manatee and Sarasota island communities including Anna Maria.

Amongst the potential fund sources of these projects is the Shared-Use, Nonmotorized (SUN) Trails System, a Florida-wide program to build new greenways and create an interconnected trail network across the state. The Florida Legislature in 2014 and 2015 passed bills creating and funding the SUN Trail. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has been mandated to allocate a minimum of $25 million annually for projects that the network covers.

Extensive Regional Trail Network

The proposed Manatee greenways are covered under Tier 2 of the FDOT funding reserved for priority corridors. Notably, the Willow-Ellenton Trail would link Manatee to Hillsborough, its northeast county neighbor, and skirt around the northwestern flanks of Lake Parrish.

Significantly too, the Willow-Ellenton Trail is planned to link up with Tampa’s star project, the Southwest Coastal Regional Trail. Touted as having the unprecedented support of the FDOT, this regional multi-use greenways will flow through Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties. This regional trail would interconnect the various greenways in these counties including the Legacy Trail adding market excitement to Sarasota homes for sale near its 10-mile stretch.

Property Values Benefit

Dave Hutchinson, MPO executive director, believes greenways can catalyze transformation in their local communities as demonstrated in Sarasota’s Legacy Trail and Riverwalk in downtown Bradenton.

Manatee county’s parks and natural resources director, Charlie Hunsicker concurs, saying that trails enhance property values aside from providing safe bike route destinations, and promoting general health and well-being amongst local residents and visitors. Bradenton and Palmetto areas, he adds, stand to benefit in particular from the MPO’s forward-looking vision of establishing trails and greenways in the county.

Some Neighborhoods Nearby

The prioritized Willow-Ellenton Trail will indeed add delight to plenty of eastern Manatee communities near them. At Ellenton, Oakleaf Hammock and Oak Creek are but two neighborhoods which could get an added lift in terms of nearby local amenities once this greenway is completed.

The same benefit could extend to Silverleaf, a new development of Neal Communities in Parrish. Notably, available properties here are amongst the most attractively priced Manatee homes for sale. Prices of market listings in this community start in the high $100s and level up to the $300s. These choices of new builds have floor plans of between 1,079 and 2,535 square feet designed with two to four bedrooms, quite winsome indeed with the greenways expected to be added to their nearby amenities.