Leesburg will pursue grant for drainage, sewer update

LEESBURG, Ga. -- The Leesburg City Council agreed Tuesday night to pursue a Community Development Block Grant during 2011 that would allow the city to make sewer/drainage improvements in the area around Magnolia, Peach and Starksville roads.

City Clerk Casey Moore told council members the continuing filtration problems in that area near Lee County High School left the need for more work, which could be funded through the Housing and Urban Development-authorized grants.

"We've made major improvements in that area, but we still have needs there," Moore said. "We'll have to supply matching funds, so I don't know if you're interested, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

"Our consultant, who has done an excellent job in getting these grants on the city's behalf, has suggested we'd need to have approximately $75,000 in matching funds. We need to let him know if we're interested in pursuing (the grant). He could have the grant written by the end of February, and we'd submit it by April. We'll only have to supply matching funds if we receive a grant."

City Attorney Bert Gregory suggested moving forward with the process.

"(HUD is) asking for 15 percent matching funds, so if you get (a grant) you would realize a pretty good return on your investment," Gregory said.

The council also voted to extend the existing sign moratorium in the city for another 45 days, even though the county approved a sign ordinance at its Sept. 28 meeting.

"We need to hold a public hearing on the ordinance before we adopt it," Councilwoman Judy Powell said. "We have to advertise the hearing first, so we couldn't adopt the ordinance until our next meeting."

Also at the meeting, the council approved a request by the Lee High School PTO to close roads adjacent to city soccer fields on Oct. 23 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. for a "hometown harvest" event; OK'd a continuation of the city's solid waste management plan, and agreed to support Traci Henry's efforts to win a $50,000 grant from Pepsi to build a playground for special needs children.

Henry, who is a parent of a special needs child, created the Butterfly Kisses Playgroup that is utilized by other families throughout the region. She is one of 1,000 groups or individuals to register for the Pepsi grant in the $50,000 category and will claim the funding if she receives the most votes.

"I want the support of the community because I want to put the park in our community," Henry said.

Persons can help Henry's efforts by voting on Facebook or texting 103013 to Pepsi (73774) from their mobile phones. Voting ends Oct. 31.