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For immediate release - June 13, 2005

Lake-Sumter MPO to hold several public workshops

LEESBURG — The Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) will conduct several public workshops this week to gather input regarding existing transportation needs, as well as visioning for transportation needs in the future.

Beginning on Wednesday, June 15, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Lake-Sumter MPO will host a Consensus Building Workshop at the Lake-Sumter Community College Magnolia Room located at 9501 U.S. Highway 441, Leesburg.

While the meeting is open to the public, the MPO has invited elected officials, environmental groups, chambers of commerce representatives, homeowner's associations and various County and municipal planning staff to solicit input about transportation needs. The input received will help guide the development of the 20-year Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).

"The MPO is deep into the process of creating the 2025 LRTP, which will be completed in December," said MPO Executive Director T.J. Fish. "We are now at the point where transportation needs are being determined through technical analysis and through public input. We intend to show the public what needs have been revealed through analysis and then we want the public's thoughts on meeting those needs."

Fish said that once the MPO knows what the needs are and how the public would like to address the needs, the next step is to develop solutions to the needs based on cost feasibility.

"Right now we are just discussing needs. At the end of the summer we will have another opportunity for feedback regarding possible solutions," he said.

For more information about the Consensus Building Workshop or for citizens to reserve a seat to the all-day workshop, call the Lake-Sumter MPO office at (352) 315-0170.

The format for the two Lake-Sumter MPO Environmental Justice Discussion Group workshops scheduled for Friday, June 17, are slightly different. Invited to the two meetings are community-based agencies that serve individuals with specific transportation needs, such as those that utilize Lake County's transportation disadvantaged program.

"We are soliciting input from people that are most in need of public transportation," Fish said. "The term 'environmental justice' refers to the social environment, with a goal of promoting equity among varying social groups."

The first group workshop, targeting southern Lake County, is scheduled June 17 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Minneola City Hall, located at 800 N. U.S. Highway 27. The second group workshop, for northern Lake County, is scheduled on June 17 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Leesburg Community Center West Room located at 109 E. Dixie Ave.

For more information about the Environmental Justice Discussion Group workshops or for citizens to reserve a seat to either of the workshops, call the Lake-Sumter MPO office at (352) 315-0170. For those unable to attend any of these workshops, written comments will be accepted through June 31 and may be sent to: Lake-Sumter MPO, 1616 S. 14th St., Leesburg, FL 34748.

BACKGROUND: Established in 2004, the Lake-Sumter MPO is a regional, independent agency supported through federal funds and tasked with efficiently planning for the community's transportation needs. The purpose of the MPO is to provide a forum for a coordinated, comprehensive and continual transportation planning process. The agency is responsible for the planning of several modes of transportation and for coordinating and prioritizing projects on a regional level.


Contact information:
Christopher Patton
Communications Coordinator
Office: (352) 343-9609; Cell: (352) 455-0445

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