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Duffy: Projects moving forward

LEESBURG -- Lee County Commission Chairman Ed Duffy lauded advancements made on the county's animal shelter, its new library/conference center and a number of road projects in his most recent report to citizens in the county.

The chairman also noted that the student population had surpassed 6,300 in the county's school system, keeping up with its 3.5 percent a year growth rate during the past several years. The Lee system remains one of two in the state with more than seven schools that has made federally mandated Adequate Yearly Progress at all of its schools for six consecutive years.

"I would like to take this opportunity, along with the Board of Commissioners, to thank and congratulate the administration, the teachers and all who are associated with the Lee County School System for making it one of the best in the state of Georgia," Duffy said.

Phase 1 of the county's animal shelter, funded with special-purpose local-option sales tax money and private donations, was completed on schedule recently, and plans are under way to complete the project in the next few months. Animal Control personnel have had a great deal of success in what Duffy calls an "aggressive campaign" to have animals adopted.

The chairman also reported that schematic designs for the southwest library branch, which along with a conference center and coffee shop will be built just off U.S. Highway 82, had been approved by the Board, and that a construction contract had been awarded for a new fire/EMS station on U.S. 19 near Smithville. Construction on the station is expected to begin in January.

The state Department of Transportation, Duffy also noted, approved a contract -- already signed by the commission -- that will develop a local truck route along Lovers Lane Road and Robert B. Lee Drive that, when completed, will help alleviate downtown traffic congestion during morning and afternoon school drop-off and pick-up.

The contract calls for the county to spend $800,000 in SPLOST dollars on the project, and for the DOT to match that amount.

"Lee County has much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season," Duffy said. "Thanks to the leadership of the Board of Commissioners, the county is positioned to move forward with projects that will enhance the quality of life of our citizens and spur economic development."