Pinellas Trail Inc. president Bert Valery, left, and vice president Scott Daniels, update Pinellas County Commissioners about the latest efforts by volunteers that help maintain the Trail during the April 1 meeting.
Screenshot by SUZETTE PORTER
Pinellas Trail Auxiliary Rangers Bill and Phyllis Romanski make use of an electric cart donated by Pinellas Trail Inc. to help them with their volunteer work along the trail. An area in the back provides room to place trash to carry back for proper disposal.
CLEARWATER – Pinellas Trails Inc. recently donated an electric cart to aid volunteer auxiliary rangers.
As of March 6, the volunteers had logged nearly 350 miles of use on the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail.
Pinellas Trails Inc. president Bert Valery of Indian Rocks Beach and vice president Scott Daniels of Clearwater provided Pinellas County Commissioners with an update at the April 1 meeting.
Daniels told commissioners that the volunteer-group’s mission was and had always been part of the public-private partnership with the county. They are already making plans to celebrate the Trails 25th anniversary in 2015.
“The Trail, next to the beach, is the second most popular (county attraction,” Scott said.
The volunteer group allows citizens to get involved in taking care of the trail and in providing extra amenities the county can’t afford. He said they also are involved in Trail safety via the Safety and Security Task Force.
He said 100 volunteer auxiliary rangers working with the county’s Parks and Conservation Resources Department, help patrol the 38-mile trail to keep it clean and keep it safe. To assist them with that mission, Pinellas Trails Inc. has donated an electric cart to use on the trail.
“We hope to do more donations in the future,” Scott said. “The Pinellas Trail is a very special park in our county.”
“We most sincerely thank you,” said Commission Chair Karen Seel.
Valery talked about the need for funds to complete the trail.
“This has been a 30-year process and it is not done,” he said.
He requested that more Penny for Pinellas money be allocated toward Trail construction to finish what more than 90,000 people now enjoy each month.
“I’d like to get this done while I’m alive,” the 74-year-old told commissioners.
Valery was instrumental in creation of the Trail through his work on a MPO committee after his son was killed by a vehicle while he was riding his bicycle home from work.
Seel said she had met with Duke Energy about a funding agreement to finish the Duke Energy Trail, which connects a portion of the Pinellas Trail.
“I hope to have a signed trail agreement by the end of the month,” she said.
She explained that due to the downturn in the economy in 2008, staff had to redo the budget for projects being paid for with Penny money.
“I fought to keep the money in, but was not successful,” Seel said.
She said the MPO was applying for a federal TIGER grant in hopes to get funding to finish the trail loop in north county to complete the trail from East Lake to St. Petersburg.
Valery said he didn’t have much confidence in a TIGER grant.