Leesburg pool closing to make way for new community center

Pool set to close July 16

By Clay LePard - Reporter

LEESBURG, Fla. - After decades of use, the Venetian Gardens pool on East Dixie Avenue in Leesburg is set to close in mid-July, as crews prepare to build a new community center.

The nearly $8 million project is part of a four-year plan to revitalize the popular hangout. 

"Create a destination point in Leesburg using Venetian Gardens to draw people into the community," City Manager Al Minner said. "(The pool) had significant maintenance problems for the last several years and it's an antiquated pool." 

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The project is being paid for through the city's general fund without the use of bonds or an increase in city taxes. 

Going to the decades-old Venetian Gardens pool became a bit of a tradition for resident Jane Osteen and her family. 

"The pool brings lot of good memories for me for when I was a child, and we swam almost every day, and now I bring my grandchildren there," she said. 

Once the pool closes at Venetian Gardens on July 16, the city of Leesburg will have only one pool located at the H.O. Dabney Recreation Complex on Beecher Street. 

"It's just too bad they can't keep this open until a new one is going to be put in," Jeff Grimes, who uses the pool at least three times a week, said.

There are no current plans for a new pool, but Minner says they plan on looking at several alternatives at the upcoming commissioners meeting at the end of the month.

"Very sad to see it go, but there is a city pool on the other side of town so we'll just have to drive a little bit further to get to it," Osteen said.  

The pool is expected to close on July 16 with the groundbreaking on that new community center to take place shortly thereafter.

Construction of the new community center is supposed to be completed by July 2019. 

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