A group of 20 dedicated city workers converged on west Leesburg this week to clean up part of a neighborhood beset with litter and overgrown grass and trees.
They brought trucks, heavy machinery, a small boat and plenty of power tools. Two days later, their work had removed no less than 12 dump trucks full of trash and plant debris that once cluttered an 8-acre property off of McCormack Street.
“It is quite a difference,” said longtime resident Agnes Berry. “The neighborhood is just thrilled to see the city do something like this.”
Crews first cut back tree limbs and overgrown plants that nearly covered the east sidewalk along McCormack. They cut grass and combed the area to collect an abundance of litter, which included nearly a dozen old tires, countless plastic bottles, paper, candy wrappers and two bicycles.
“I think it’s good that the city partners with the community to help these blighted areas,” said Leesburg City Commissioner John Christian. “The expense is minimal, and it instills pride – it motivates community leaders, churches and groups to become more vigilant in keeping their neighborhoods clean.”
Much of the garbage was dumped in and around a city storm water pond. The cleanup helped to clear the area, providing a more attractive view across the water to the adjacent Gardenia Trail recreational corridor and Susan Street Recreation Complex. Carver Middle School is just north of there, and many students walk through the property each weekday.
On Monday, the Leesburg City Commission approved another project that will further benefit this neighborhood by enclosing more than 700 feet of deeply trenched storm water ditch northeast of the Gardenia Trail. The ditch commonly is used for dumping garbage, and its steep slope makes it difficult to maintain.
Leesburg will fix that problem by installing a large drainage pipe to handle storm water and then filling in the ditch to create a flat, grassy surface area that is easier to clean and mow. The $160,000 project is contracted to Beesley Construction and is expected to wrap up by the end of January.
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. For more information, visit www.leesburgflorida.gov.