Dunedin has long been a mecca for non-motorized trail users. Bicyclists, joggers, in-line skaters and leisurely walkers access the town by way of the Pinellas Trail, which runs through downtown on an abandoned CSX railroad corridor. The multi-use trail stretches from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs and town officials attribute it to a sharp rise in the business occupancy rate, from 30 percent to 100 percent. Bike shops, cafes, hotels, and other businesses all cater to trail users.
Dunedin’s status as a trail-friendly community has not gone unnoticed by state officials. In January, the Pinellas County community was designated as Florida’s first official trail town by the Florida Greenways and Trails Council under a new program administered by the Office of Greenways and Trails, part of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
“We couldn’t be more proud,” said Dunedin Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski. “Our downtown has thrived around the trail and attracted folks from all ages and abilities. We like to think of the trail as the main artery of our community.”
Dunedin Economic Development and Housing Director Bob Ironsmith added, “The Trail has been a major catalyst for the revitalization of Downtown Dunedin, bringing in a constant stream of people who shop eat and play in our quaint Main Street area. Embracing and enhancing the Trail has led the effort in making Downtown Dunedin a top destination to visit, and we are very proud of receiving the Trail Town designation.”
“Our trails are incredibly important as they connect our communities to the natural treasures around them,” said DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein. “I would like to congratulate the City of Dunedin on being the first trail town in recognition of the incredible network of trails in the community, and the benefits those trails provide residents and visitors year-round.”
Doug Alderson, Assistant Bureau Chief of the Office of Greenways and Trails, added, “A Florida trail Town is a vibrant destination where people come together. A goal of the Florida Trail Town program is to acknowledge successes such as Dunedin with the hope that other communities will be inspired to follow suit. It is a win-win for both the towns and trail users.”