June 19, 2024

Leesburg Celebrates Pine Street Revitalization Despite Rain Storm and Flying Tents

2.4 min read| Published On: June 19th, 2024|

By Cindy Peterson

Leesburg Celebrates Pine Street Revitalization Despite Rain Storm and Flying Tents

2.4 min read| Published On: June 19th, 2024|

This morning’s ribbon cutting celebration for the Pine Street revitalization project in Leesburg may be the most unique one I’ve attended, and I’ve been to a fair share. Between people scattering to escape incoming rain during Travis Scott’s speech, to flying tents knocking over the speakers, we all managed to huddle together under a few of the remaining tents standing and network at the same time.

Bravely, the city commissioners ran out to Pine Street, cut the ribbon, then fled to shelter. On the bright side, there was free coffee from Spill the Beans Co. and BBQ from Cotton’s Kitchen for those who waited it out.

The $3.87 million project widened the roadway between Canal Street and Childs Street to accommodate designated on-street parking and added curvature to the street for traffic calming. Additional improvements include widening of sidewalks, improved landscaping, decorative lighting, and off-street parking. The roadway and parking improvements were designed by CPH and built by Wharton-Smith, Inc. Construction Group, both firms located in Sanford.

Before the rain, Commissioner Allison Berry began the ceremony, emphasizing the significance of the day.

“Today is a day of celebration and pride for our community,” she says. “As we gather here for the renovating of Pine Street, we honor the tireless efforts and collaborative vision of our former mayor Pastor John Christian, the Leesburg Community Development Corporation, Mayor Jim Burry, City Manager Al Minner, the Leesburg Public Works Department, the engineers, CPH Corp, and Warden Smith Construction Group. Just to list a few, many people contributed to making this dream a reality. I’m deeply honored to stand before you on this historic Juneteenth, 2024, a day that resonates with the Black community.”

John Christian, Chairman of the Leesburg Community Development Corporation, spoke about the project’s impact.

“I’m so happy to be here,” he says. “I can remember as a young boy walking down this street going to get a hamburger. I also remember cutting this property when the CDC was so proud to take ownership of this land. In 1997, the CDC coveted this land and our city manager approached us with the swimming pool. What’s so important and so impactful is these owners who have a big initiative to believe in the vision of Leesburg and Pine Street.”

Travis Scott from Wharton-Smith, the project’s contractors, expressed his gratitude.

“I’m honored to be here to represent Wharton-Smith in thanking the city, CDC, the county commissioners, all who were involved in bringing this project to life,” he says. “The fact that you trusted us to complete this project in partnership between development and Wharton-Smith. Myself, as the project manager for this project, I would like to thank the business owners and city staff who were here with us every day. As many know, we did a few snags along the way. There were utilities that no one knew about. The public works department, the gas department, the electrical, the management of the public works department, everyone was very involved in this project and very responsive every time there was an issue.”

City Manager Al Minner highlighted the significance of the project, stating, “Completion of this project is another city revitalization accomplishment. It enhances a portion of our community which has been overlooked for many years and, along with the H.O. Dabney Aquatic Center, provides an extension of the downtown business corridor.”

Be sure to go by Pine Street and check out all the local businesses.

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About the Author: Cindy Peterson

Originally from the small town of Berryville, Arkansas, Cindy has become a multimedia specialist in journalism, photography, videography, and video editing. She has a B.S. in Communications from the University of Central Arkansas and produces Style Magazine's Sports Hub Podcast and the Healthy Living Podcast. She also produces for Beacon College’s Telly Award-winning PBS show, “A World of Difference.” When she isn’t working, Cindy loves traveling the National Parks with her husband , Ryan, and son, David, photographing wildlife.

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