$860K to be spent on gateway signs for Leesburg

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Leesburg’s city leaders are looking to create a signature "gateway" into the city.

“The purpose is to create an aesthetically pleasing facelift that we believe will have an economic benefit not only for the city but also for the region,” said Derek Hudson, the city’s public information officer.

The project would redevelop a retention pond on the north edge of the city as a gateway entrance into the Leesburg. Two large walls with the word 'Leesburg' on them would be on either side of the street. A third would be down at the end with a fountain-like 'water feature.'

City Council members hope it will bring more visitors and business to Leesburg, including Councilman Dan Robuck, who had some worries about whether the walls were worth the high cost.

“Yeah, there's some ancillary walls that aren't on the main entrance and walls are expensive so I was in the minority there,” Robuck said, “but that being said, it's still going to be a really nice project.”

At Monday's meeting the council voted unanimously to approve the plan and move forward with a budget of $860,000. That includes $250,000 from the Florida Department of Transportation for landscaping. It's a big ticket item, so we decided to ask residents if it’s worth it or wasted.

“Yeah, I think it would really help Leesburg and really make it look nice over there, instead of just a pond there,” said Laurie Fergerson.

“I think it will be good for Leesburg because we don't have anything good around here like that. So I think it'll be good for the neighborhood, people riding by it to see it,” said Edward Smith, “it'll be something good to get.”

City staff say construction should start by summertime and take about a year to finish.