For immediate release - October 13, 2011
Leesburg Jogs Ahead with Plans for Federally Funded Recreational Trail
The City of Leesburg has approved an agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation to build 3.5 miles of recreational trails from U.S. Highway 27 west toward the Sumter County line.
Federal Surface Transportation Program money directed through the State of Florida will cover $1.6 million to build all of the Leesburg-Wildwood Trail and more than half a mile of the Gardenia Trail connecting to the Leesburg Recreational Complex. Construction could begin before the end of this year.
“I am excited about the expansion of the Leesburg Trail System with the Leesburg-Wildwood Trail and our partnership to put almost $2 million of federally funded construction in our city to enhance the quality of life for all of our residents,” said Leesburg City Commissioner John Christian.
The Leesburg-Wildwood Trail will run 2.7 miles along former railroad easement from Jones and Veech roads near County Road 44 eastward to U.S. Highway 27 just south of the Palm Plaza Shopping Center. The southernmost section of the Gardenia Trail will run from Griffin Road south to the Leesburg-Wildwood Trail.
The scenic, tree-lined trails will be 15-feet-wide paved asphalt and include pedestrian benches and one large shade structure. They will be the latest addition to the Leesburg Trails Master Plan, which eventually will encompass 553 acres and will include – among other things - several trail segments spanning 24 miles, connecting neighborhoods throughout much of Leesburg.
The eastern end of the Leesburg-Wildwood Trail connects with U.S. 27, where the existing Fountain Lake Trail runs east to Canal Street in downtown Leesburg. That connects to the existing Venetian Trail, which runs a half mile north along Canal Street from Dixie Avenue to U.S. Highway 441. The existing Magnolia Trail runs just south of Magnolia Street in downtown Leesburg between South 12th Street and Canal Street connecting to the Venetian Trail.
Leesburg is a progressive city of more than 20,000 residents in northwest Lake County. The city government serves twice as many people with its electric, gas, water, wastewater and fiber-optic public utilities. Leesburg also is a central hub for commerce, attracting 50,000 people to work each weekday.