V Day to Benefit Venetian Gardens

Local groups are needed to show their community pride and help improve one of the area’s most popular historic parks.

V Day on Saturday, March 23, will bring together businesses, churches, civic organizations and other groups in a community effort to improve Venetian Gardens. Work begins at 9 a.m. and runs through the afternoon.

The project is the latest community partnership organized by City Commissioner Jay Hurley, who in November rallied teams of volunteers to set up holiday lights for Christmas Tree Lane at Lakeshore Mobile Home Park.

Now Hurley is requesting help from the community to benefit Venetian Gardens with shoreline debris cleanup, brush trimming and other landscape improvements.

“Let’s take the momentum of Christmas Tree Lane and do something special at Venetian Gardens,” Hurley said.

Large groups and businesses can designate part of the park for specific projects. Cutrale Citrus Juices USA – one of Leesburg’s largest employers and a prominent community partner – has agreed to help clean up overgrown vegetation on Venetian Garden’s lesser traveled Monkey Island at the mouth of Venetian Gardens cove on Lake Harris.

Groups can contact Jay Hurley at (352) 504-5767 to volunteer. Participants should bring their own tools and landscaping equipment.

Venetian Gardens – originally created in the 1930s - is located at 201 E. Dixie Ave. along the north shore of Lake Harris. The historic park features six landscaped islands, a marina, boat ramps, the Leesburg Boating Club, Kids Korner playground, a community meeting center, Pat Thomas (baseball) Stadium and a large, open recreation area at Ski Beach.

Leesburg is a progressive city of more than 20,000 residents in northwest Lake County. The city government serves twice as many people with its electric, gas, water, wastewater and fiber-optic public utilities. Leesburg also is a central hub for commerce, attracting 50,000 people to work each weekday.