LEESBURG – The City Commission this week approved a contract to build a $2.6 million seaplane dock and taxi lane at Leesburg International Airport.
The agreement is with the Florida Department of Transportation and Commercial Industrial Corp. of Ocala. Commissioners approved the measure 4-0. Commissioner Jay Hurley was not present.
City officials say the plan won’t cut into the action of Tavares, which brands itself “America’s Seaplane City.”
“It’s absolutely a good thing,” said Matt Elia, aviation manager for Tavares.
Tavares, which built a dock for boats and planes at Wooton Park, is limited in space and services. It does sell fuel. About four seaplanes are based in Tavares, Elia said.
The Leesburg airport taxi lane is an extension of taxiway “A” and is adjacent to Runway 31. It will extend into Lake Harris. It will allow pilots to make their way up to maintenance facilities at the airport. The work will complement Tavares’ efforts, said Derek Hudson, Leesburg’s spokesman.
The contract is for a maximum of $2,680,704.96. A DOT grant is paying $920,000 of the total.
The dock itself is estimated to cost $442,161 of the total, and the county is willing to pay $125,000, but the city is hoping it will contribute more, Hudson said.
Planners had to iron out some complicated details to get the project off the ground.
Because the work will intrude on about three acres of wetlands, the city had to work out a “mitigation” deal with the St. Johns River Water Management District. The city is turning over 75 acres of wetlands it owns off County Road 470…
click here to read more.