State to improve school zone for Leesburg students



LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Hundreds of students in Leesburg are going to get a safer school zone.

The state is extending the school zone on State Road 44 in front of Leesburg Elementary School and Oak Park Middle School.

Next school year, students will have a longer stretch of road with slower cars passing them.

"I just don't understand why it took so long," said resident Shar Spradlin.

Channel 9's Racquel Asa learned that a majority of the students walking to and from school along the road do so without their parents.

"I wouldn't want anybody to have to walk up there, especially little kids. It's very dangerous," said Spradlin.

Asa learned that within the last three years, there have been more than a dozen crashes in front of the schools. One of those involved a student crossing the street.

Robert Bowersox said the crashes have been happening in the area much longer than that.

"(I) saw a couple pedestrians hit and a few students bumped with cars," said Bowersox.

Parents said the 500-foot stretch of road that is a designated school zone isn't long enough.

The state says it will extend the zone before school starts next year, tripling the length to 1,500 feet to include the elementary school and a nearby intersection that many students use.

Right now, cars can travel 45 mph outside the school zone.

"Why does it take so much to happen for a simple solution to get done?" said Spradlin.

The state said extending the length of the school zone will cost $72,000. Work on the extension will begin in June.