Just as the street improvement projects are wrapping up, two additional features will be coming to downtown Leesburg.
The Town Council last week approved the addition of a permanent stage on the Town Green and an interactive water feature, commonly called a “splash pad,” to the downtown streetscape. The splash pad would be located on the vacant Loudoun Street lot next to the Town Hall parking garage.
In a 5-2 vote Nov. 10, with council members Katie Sheldon Hammler and Marty Martinez dissenting, the two projects were added to the town’s Capital Improvements Program, which outlines the council’s capital priorities over the next six years.
Per council motion, the cost of the stage is not to exceed $50,000, with $30,000 of the anticipated costs coming from monies paid to the town as part of an insurance settlement from the car crash on the Town Green in May. The remainder of the project’s expenditure will be paid from the town General Fund.
The permanent stage is expected to accommodate annual town events like the Acoustic on the Green concert series, the 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony and the Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting festivities. The stage is expected to be ready in time for the first Acoustic on the Green concert in June 2016, Town Manager Kaj Dentler said Tuesday.
The cost of the splash pad is not to exceed $300,000, and those monies will be derived from savings associated with the Hope Parkway extension project. That project’s timeline has not been finalized, Dentler said.
Councilman David Butler first brought forward the idea for the splash pad project to the council in October. In bringing forth the motion for approval he said the two amenities have received enthusiastic support from town residents since being introduced.
“Downtown desperately needs amenities like this,” Butler said.
While ultimately supporting the project, Councilwoman Suzanne Fox said she was concerned that the projects were being pushed through too quickly without proper vetting on safety concerns and overall cost. Hammler voiced similar concerns in her reason for voting against the project.
But in the end, Fox said, “I’m a representative [of townspeople] and the feedback I’ve gotten is it’s wanted so I’ll support it.”
By Kara Clark Rodriguez