Leesburg leaders develop city improvement plan - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Leesburg leaders develop city improvement plan

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May 9, 2007

Leesburg-- City leaders in Leesburg are working on a plan to make life easier and healthier for people there. They hope to get up to $500,000 from the Georgia Department of Transportation's "Safe Routes to School" grant program.

You won't have a problem finding sidewalks scattered throughout Leesburg, but pretty soon you just might see even more of them. "We're all working together to figure out exactly where we would like to add the sidewalks the crosswalks to make the schools a little more connected," says Emerson Chew.

Emerson Chew with the Southwest Georgia Regional Development Center is helping Leesburg devise a plan to place more crosswalks and sidewalks near all of the city's schools.

"The city of Leesburg is unique it's one of the few cities left in the state where kids have an opportunity to walk to school. All the schools are located within city limits," he says.

City leaders want to install the sidewalks for two primary reasons. One-to encourage kids to stay fit, and to help alleviate traffic along busy roads.

"The city of Leesburg has an incredible congestion problem with people trying to get into the city to take their kids to school maybe if we had a lot more kids walking that would alleviate that congestion," he says.

Emerson and his team have been working on their plan for about five months, but it's still in the early stages.

"We have our plan, it's just a matter of sitting down and writing it out and actually proposing it to the Georgia Department of Transportation," he says.

His team has to decide on the placement of the proposed sidewalks--so far, they only have a few locations in mind. "Right now we're looking at Smithville Highway," he says.

He's also looking to get input from the community. "We'd like to have in the near future have public hearings where the public can come and we can propose the plan and get feed back," he says.

After all, he says it won't be students will be able to take advantage of the proposed sidewalks. "We think it would be a really good thing for the community as well as the students to get people out walking, biking, in general enjoying the city a lot more," he says.

Planners will submit the proposal to the DOT by October and hope to find out early next year if the city will get any of the grant money.

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