You May Have a Federal Land Takings Case Over the Property Adjacent to Yours
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Sarasota Legacy Trail – Rails to Trails Conversion

If you received a letter from Maglio Christopher & Toale, P.A., it’s because our attorneys identified your property as being adjacent to a railroad right-of-way with a potential ownership interest in that land. We believe you may be eligible for compensation from the federal government over the proposed conversion of the railroad right-of-way to a recreational trail. Maglio Christopher & Toale, P. A. would like to represent you in getting that compensation.

Our law firm supports Rails-to-Trails conversions because they add value to neighborhoods and turn unused strips of land into productive community park areas. Our land takings compensation litigation does NOT stop or impact this process. We are simply asking the federal government to fairly compensate adjacent landowners for their property based on your constitutional rights.

The Legacy Trail Extension

  • The expansion of the Legacy Trail will pick up where the current trail ends, at Culverhouse Nature Park, and extend north into downtown Sarasota, ending at Payne Park, just south of Fruitville Road.
  • This expansion of the Legacy Trail will provide access from downtown Venice to downtown Sarasota, and will greatly improve the system of trails throughout Sarasota County.
  • The expansion will span approximately 7.5 miles
  • Along the extension, shelters will be placed along each mile of the trail with trailheads being spaced about every 2 miles.
  • Other features would include restroom facilities, benches, bike racks, lockers, scenic rest areas, and Wi-Fi at trailheads.

Time Line of Legacy Trail Railroad Conversion to this Point

The Legacy Trail Background

  • June 2019 – Sarasota County aquired the rail corridor for the Legacy Trail extension.
  • May 2019 – The Surface Transportation Board approved the county’s request for interim trail use. This allows Sarasota county to use the railroad corridor as a trail.
  • April 2019 –  Legacy Trail extension added to Sarasota County’s Capital Improvements Plan
  • December 2017 – The Surface Transportation Board issued a Notice of Interim Trail Use, allowing Sarasota County and Seminole Gulf Railway a 180-day period to engage in negotiations for the purchase of the right-of-way for public trail use.
  • March 2008 – Sarasota County opens the 12.5-mile long Legacy Trail for public recreational use. The trail runs from Clark Road in Sarasota to Center Road in Venice.  It is estimated that more than 100,000 people use the Legacy Trail each year.
  • December 2004 – Sarasota County, in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, purchases the 100-foot wide CSX railroad corridor between Venice and South Sarasota for $11.75 million.

Seaboard Air Line Railway – A Few Historical Points

  • The first passenger train ran on the Seaboard Air Line Railway’s newly built Sarasota to Venice extension on November 12, 1911.
  • The Venice Train Depot, which is the southern endpoint of the Legacy Trail, was opened in 1927. Sarasota County purchased the Depot and restored it for historic tours and public education in October 2003.
  • Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus used Seaboard Air Line Railway to reach its winter headquarters in Venice from 1960 until 1992.

Frequently Asked Questions About Land Taking Claims


I like the idea of a recreational trail on the abandoned railroad right-of-way. If I file a claim will it stop the trail from being built?

No, your property rights claim will be filed against the federal government. The federal government is responsible for compensating you for any property taking as federal law provides for the conversion of the railroad right-of-way to a recreational trail.  Design and construction of a recreational trail is typically done at the local level and is not impacted by a federal suit. By filing a claim, you are not stopping the recreational trail from being built, but simply seeking just compensation from the federal government for your property that is being taken to construct the trail on the abandoned railroad right-of-way.

How much will it cost me to hire your Firm and bring my claim?

Our Firm works on a contingency basis, so there is no cost to you unless you win. The fee arrangement is laid out in paragraph 2 of the retainer agreement. If you’d like more information, feel free to reach out to us.

How much can I expect to receive if I prevail?

There is no guarantee that you will recover damages. If you do recover damages, the amount you receive will be based on a variety of factors individual to each parcel and property owner. Contact us so we can discuss your specific property.

Where will the proceedings be located?

Most of the legal proceedings will be conducted at the United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C., where our firm has an office located three blocks away from the Court. However, when it comes time for trial it may take place in Washington, DC or in Sarasota.

How involved will I have to be?

If you file a claim, your involvement will vary at different stages of the litigation. There may be times when you hear from us frequently and need to assist us, such as when we are gathering initial information and other times when you don’t hear from us for stretches of time. We will keep you updated on important developments in your case.  You are also welcome to contact us for a status update on your case if you have not heard from us.

The Next Step: Getting Compensation

If you have any questions or want to schedule a meeting with our attorneys in our downtown Sarasota office, call 941-952-5242 or fill out the form below.  There is no cost to review your case and no obligation to retain our legal representation. 

We do not represent you until an attorney from the Firm has signed the retainer and it has been mailed back to you, fully executed. Until that point, no attorney-client relationship has been established.

Federal Takings Rails to Trails Conversions Sarasota Legacy Trail Claims