For immediate release - August 15, 2012
Leesburg to Expand Recreational Trails with State and Federal Grants
A new expansion of Leesburg’s scenic trails will utilize about a million dollars in state and federal grants to encourage more healthy recreation and to help provide a well-needed boost for a local business.
The City Commission on Monday night approved annexation and rezoning of about 19.6 acres of former railroad property to redevelop for a portion of the trails. Construction could begin within ten days to build a total of 3.5 miles of paved pathways from U.S. Highway 27 toward the Sumter County line.
Most of that area will create 2.7 miles of the Leesburg-Wildwood Trail from just south of the Palm Plaza Shopping Center on U.S. 27 west to Jones and Veech roads near County Road 44. More than half a mile of the Gardenia Trail will branch off north to the Leesburg Recreational Complex on Griffin Road. All of the $1.06 million project funding is provided by Federal Surface Transportation Program money directed through the State of Florida.
“This will provide a great way for people to get out and walk, ride their bikes, go to our recreational complex or even go to school,” said Leesburg Mayor Sanna Henderson.
Henderson said the federal funding also benefits a local business that will help to build the trails. Tampa-based Suncoast Paving has subcontracted roughly $300,000 of the work to Leesburg company Beesley Construction.
The project is expected to take nine months to build.
The scenic, tree-lined trails will be 15-feet-wide with 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.
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.
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 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.