Leesburg Breaks Ground for New Community Building

Much of Leesburg is buzzing with the excitement over the groundbreaking at Venetian Gardens. This officially began the third phase of a vision of city officials that is bringing the “Jewel of Leesburg” back to its gleaming glory.

“I moved here in 1988 and Venetians Gardens was the place to be,” Commission Jay Hurley said in a brief speech. “It was a place of community that we shared.”

Dozens of community leaders and citizens were on hand to celebrate the third phase of new development in the beloved city landmark.

“We had a commission that had a vision, and we did it,” Jay went on. “We did it without borrowing money or raising taxes, which we’re very proud of.”

In addition to the 20,700-square-foot multi-purpose building, the $7.8 million project will also include a waterfront restaurant site, the reconfiguration of parking facilities on Dosier Circle, and landscaping improvement. Evergreen Construction will do the building, and the expected grand opening is forecasted for July 4, 2019.

City Manager Al Minner had three groups participate in the ceremonial shoveling of dirt. The first group included the city commissioners, John Christian, Bob Bone, Jay Hurley, and Mayor Dan Roebuck III. Joe Shipes, chief executive officer of the Leesburg Partnership, Sandi Moore, executive director of the Leesburg Chamber of Commerce, and other community dignitaries, with the last group of shovelers being city staff.

“To me, this is an exciting time for Leesburg. Where we have come in four and a half to five years is amazing,” Sandi says. We brought the commission to say to the people, ‘What do you want?’ We want to follow the desires of our community, and because we’re paying cash, it’s going to be user-friendly for everyone.”

Tracy Samples, a massage therapist who recently moved back to Leesburg after six years in Fort Lauderdale, was on hand for the festivities. “I remember when they campaigned for this,” Tracy says. “It’s just so good to be back and see the community grow stronger.”

The new building will have a huge ballroom with a glass wall overlooking the Martin Luther King, Jr. Island. There will be a kitchen, meeting rooms, and covered entrance or dropping off guests.