The Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail began as a vision in 1983
Bert Valery, whose son was killed while riding his bike, worked with Brian Smith and Fred to get the Pinellas Trail started and helped form the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization's Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, consisting of bicycle enthusiasts. The committee, in conjunction with the Pedestrian Safety Committee, wanted a safe place to enjoy bicycle riding, strolling, or jogging. The county had a separate problem - what to do with a 34-mile corridor of abandoned CSX railroad right-of-way.
The committees’ dream became a reality in 1990, when the first 6-mile section of the Pinellas Trail opened, connecting Taylor Park in Largo to Seminole Park in Seminole. The Pinellas Trail became immensely popular, with usage figures exceeding all expectations. With the passage of the first Penny for Pinellas one-cent local option sales tax, plans were put into motion to connect the County, from north to south, with a continuous trail.
Who is Fred Marquis?
The Pinellas Trail was named in honor of Fred Marquis, former Pinellas County administrator who served from 1979 until 2000. His leadership resulted in national recognition of Pinellas County for its fiscal integrity, efficient and responsive government, preservation of the natural environment, and expansion of one of the nation’s most outstanding park systems. Mr. Marquis was a tireless proponent for the conversion of the abandoned railroad corridor to the Pinellas Trail.
HISTORY OF THE PINELLAS TRAIL
First train on Orange Belt Railway arrives in St. Petersburg.
1983Railroad right-of-way land purchased by Florida Department of Transportation.
1984Pinellas Bicycle Advisory Committee proposes using railroad right-of-way as bike route.
1988The Friends of the Pinellas Trail, Inc. formed to promote public support for linear park concept.
1989The Pinellas Trail project approved by Pinellas Board of County Commissioners; $1.5 million allocated to build a 15-mile segment. Penny for Pinellas funding designated for 35 miles of the Pinellas Trail.
1990Official "Grand Opening" on Saturday, December 1, 1990.First Five-Mile Stretch of the Pinellas Trail Opens from Taylor Park to Seminole City Park. Two trail preview sites built at Seminole City Park and along Alt. U.S. 19 near Curlew Road.
1991First Trail overpass opens over Ulmerton Road in Largo.
1992The Pinellas Trail from Taylor Park to Ozona opens. West Bay Drive overpass in Largo completed.
19939-mile segment from Seminole City Park to St. Petersburg opens. Trail overpass at Orange Street and Alt. U.S. 19 opens.
1994St. Petersburg and Tarpon Springs sections open.
1995The Pinellas Trail 5th Anniversary
1996Park Boulevard overpass opens in Seminole.
1997Seminole Boulevard and 113th Street overpasses open. Downtown Clearwater section opens.
2000The Pinellas Trail 10th AnniversaryThe Pinellas Trail designated a Millennium Trail by the White House. The Pinellas Trail’s Cross Bayou Bridge opens.
2001Access to Wall Springs Park completed. Park Street overpass completed.
2003The Pinellas Trail designated a National Recreation Trail by U.S. Department of Interior, National Park Service, National Trails System.
2004Art on the Trail railroad sculpture additions mark cities along the Trail. Elfer’s Spur over Anclote River in Tarpon Springs opens to North Anclote River Nature Park. 38th Avenue overpass opens.
2005The Pinellas Trail 15th Anniversary
2006Jasmine section under U.S. 19 to Keystone Road opens.
2007St. Petersburg begins construction of Downtown Trail Extension. Groundbreaking for first section of the Progress Energy Extension of the Pinellas Trail.
20083-mile Downtown Trail Extension opens to St. Petersburg waterfront. Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail inducted into Rail-Trail Hall of Fame.
2009Enterprise overpass for the Progress Energy Extension of the Pinellas Trail completed.
2010The Pinellas Trail 20th Anniversary34th Street overpass opens. Keystone Road groundbreaking for Northeast Trail Extension.
2011The Pinellas Trail through downtown Clearwater completed.
20143-mile section of the Pinellas Trail opens along Keystone Road connecting the 4 miles along East Lake Road to John Chesnut Park. Pinellas County enters into an agreement with Duke Energy changing the Progress Energy Trail to the Duke Energy Florida Trail.
2015The Pinellas Trail 25th AnniversaryCourtney Campbell Causeway Trail opens.
2016Groundbreaking ceremony for the Duke Energy Trail segment (Sunset Pt. Rd. to overpass at Enterprise)
2017The Pinellas County section of the Tri-County Trail opens. This is the first step in connecting the Pinellas Trail Loop with the trail system in Pasco County. The Tri-County Trail connects the Pinellas Trail to the eventual Coast-to-Coast Connector, a continuous trail from downtown St Petersburg to Titusville, FL.
2018City of Dunedin, on the trail in north Pinellas is designated as Florida’s First Trail Town in May
2020 The Pinellas Trail 30th AnniversaryConstruction begins on the North Loop Gap. Starkey Gap Trail is completed, connecting the Pinellas Trail Loop to the Pasco County trail system.
- Construction of the Duke Energy Trail section between Sunset Point Rd. and NE Coachman Rd. in Clearwater was underway in April.