Senior Brunch Feeds The Appetite And The Intellect

Sandra Wilson, Director of Housing for Leesburg
Pine Street and Child Street intersection
Descendants of Robert Barrett and Louis Thompson


LEESBURG – Updates on Leesburg growth, historical information on the City of Leesburg, short videos about educational tidbits from celebrities, food and more made for a well-planned and successful Senior Brunch held Tuesday, April 16, 2024 at Venetian Center, One Dozier Circle, Leesburg, Florida, 34748.

The Senior Brunch, coordinated by Ms. Bettye Stevens – Coney and sponsored by Community Development Corporation of Leesburg (CDCL), provides empowering speakers and activities for the Leesburg community on the third Tuesday of every month. “Unity Through Understanding – Joining Our Strengths” was April’s theme.

Sandra Wilson, Director of Housing, discussed a federal housing grant.  Carolyn Samuel highlighted the building dedication for Ms. Bettye Stevens – Coney held March 28, 2024.  Bettye Stevens – Coney Business Center of Excellence. She described Ms. Coney as a “Virtuous woman” from the Old Testament Scripture Proverbs 31.  Ms. Samuel said, “It’s better to recognize people when they are living.”

Former Leesburg Commissioner Pastor John H. Christian made a presentation on Pine Street renovation, informing everyone that the Pine and Child Streets intersection will soon open, and two suites are available for rent on the same block.  Also, the African American Museum on Mike Street will reopen, providing services to veterans.

During Ms. Coney’s vivid presentation on “A Historical Look at East Leesburg,” participants learned that Evander Lee started the city of Leesburg in 1857 and the city was incorporated in 1875. She discussed prominent free Black skilled businessmen like Robert Barrett, Louis Thompson, and Tom Waitman, who purchased large parcels of land in Leesburg, Florida.

Ms. Coney also introduced descendants of the Barrett’s, Thompson’s, and Waitman’s families.

Leesburg Democratic Committeewoman Lillian Lockette discussed elections and voting dates.  She also talked about a new bill Governor DeSantis signed into law that states Florida employers don’t have to provide water breaks for employees who work outside during extreme heat.

“I thought the update on the City of Leesburg by Pastor Christian and his interaction with the participants concerning significant upcoming actions by the City of Leesburg Commission were very informative,” emphasized Carolyn Samuel.

Ms. Coney asked the participants, “Were topics discussed at the Senior Brunch helpful?” The audience immediately responded, “Yes!”

A hearty full meal and a game of Bingo terminated the successful monthly event. The next Senior Brunch will be held on May 21, 2024 at Venetian Center.