Rachel, Murillo and I went on a walk for SRQ Magazine Saturday. We did the Gillespie Park to the Cultural District walk. I have been in this area many times bike riding. I know that Gillespie Park is the home of the Gifts From God crew that feed the needy so I was a little hesitant to bring my 15 year old daughter on a walking tour. But with our dog I figured it was even.
We parked right in front of the feeding pavilion. The park is pretty nice with some very cute home around it. But for us this is like being in the frontier. The walk starts out pretty nice there are several very nice homes along 6th St and the community gardens are really nice to walk by.
Going down 6th past Central is less of a fun walking experience as there is construction and vacant lots with a semi industrial feel. US 41 is always an experience to walk across. The walk signal always turns red by the time you are half way across the highway. But we were fine.
West of the trail you walk past the garden club which is a nice experience with the lake and flower gardens. Then across the street to GWIZ which is a very nice building with windows where you can see kids playing inside. Then on to the bay front, the wind was howling and the surf was up. You don't often see big waves on the bay... Going north along the "MURT" trail you come to the Van Wezel and continue along the bay front walk up to the Coast Guard Aux. We heard the Cigarette boats from the time we were at G WIZ and now we saw them at the 10th St Boat ramp. Great paint jobs but much too loud for my taste.
Walking East back up to US 41 we waited to cross the highway again the cars are very loud and close. Once across it is not much better. 10th Street and US 41 also have construction. The Broadway Promenade and Publix... continuing along it is pretty industrial with narrow sidewalks and nothing worth being around. You pass the new Salvation Army building which is very nice looking except for the people sleeping in the grass outside and the piles of garbage across the street. Turning South on to Central Ave. from 10th to 6th is all pretty nice to walk on as you pass the Rosemary Cemetery (more beer cans and garbage), Rosemary Court and the Sarasota School of Arts and Science and some of the new trendy shops there. Turning back East on 6th street we passed the Nature Conservancy (lots of beer cans / butts) and the Rosemary(?) Condos which while they look nice are not urban in style.
Pretty much back the way we came on 6th. Overall this was a one hour walk. It has some very interesting parts and some that are still not nice. Too much of the east of the trail part is "out in the open" vacant or industrial lots that don't offer much walking appeal. West of the Trail was very nice for a walk as the buildings and especially the bay are nice to look at. We passed 2 people walking on the West side and maybe 10 on the East side. It is obvious that Rosemary and Gillespie Park are quickly transforming into much nicer areas than maybe they ever were. In a few years this may be a great walk.