The City of Leesburg has received a $1.4 million federal grant for one of several major projects to improve safety and expand new services at its international airport.
The Federal Aviation Administration awarded the funding to realign 1,000 feet of Taxiway A on the east side of the airport. The improvements better position that older section of taxiway to align with other sections and to provide more distance from the nearby runway.
The grant requires matching $80,000 grants from Leesburg and the Florida Department of Transportation. Construction could begin by the end of the year. Work will be completed in less than six months.
“I am very happy that we have good grant writers who can line up these dollars to support the citizens of Leesburg, to allow us to bring in new businesses and to help get people working on projects like these,” said Leesburg Mayor David Knowles.
Future airport plans call for an extension of Taxiway A and a new seaplane ramp of off nearby Lake Harris to coordinate with a large new facility proposed by Wipaire Inc. – a leading manufacturer and installer of seaplane floats that also provides aircraft maintenance, repairs and other services. Early this year, Wipaire opened a small service facility inside an existing hangar at Leesburg International Airport.
The state committed $484,000 to help extend the taxiway to Lake Harris and another $420,000 to help build the new seaplane ramp. The goal is to expand airport access to seaplanes and to provide maintenance, repair and other services to support neighboring City of Tavares, which operates a seaplane base and marina. Tavares is a premier destination for seaplane pilots with 7,000 aircraft takeoffs and landings during the past three years.
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.