Letter: Kelly Burk, Leesburg Vice Mayor

Editor:  I am always amazed when residents have a town issue that is important to them but they don’t come to the council meeting to speak to the issue. In particular, I’m concerned about the Crescent Park development. Some are upset about it but they don’t come to the meeting to tell their council.

When I ask why they don’t come, they almost always tell me, “It won’t make a difference.”

I am here to say, having worked in our schools and as an elected official in town and county government, it does make a difference. You know that old expression, help me help you.

But you have to come before the council and explain your views.

Nothing improves the aim of government like having a target—and you can define the bulls eye—if you take the time to do so.

I won’t kid you either that it takes some resolve, to persist, to explain the rightness of your cause. The more you come to meetings and speak to the ongoing nuances that concern the community the more likely you are to persuade the council and to have it act on your concerns.  One person can make a difference. That might be you.

In my experience, when I’ve seen another member disagree with a citizen appearing before the council, the dialogue so clarifies the issue, it advances the view of the citizen, prompting elected official to reconsider their positon on the issue.  Logic matters. But so does the passion of the person speaking.

You, a single voter, do therefore have the power, by the strength of your argument, and the intensity you bring to bear, to gather support for your cause, even to change a council members mind.

In recent days, I have an issue that concerns me deeply.

These last few weeks I have been walking around town, as I hope to become the town mayor, and the real value of this is that I get to talk to some folk who may not come to a council meeting.

I’m getting a lot of questions about the proposed Crescent Parke development.

There is a real push back on the street to how this will change our town, what it will mean to the neighborhood.

I believe the citizens are right that the high density is a real concern, the impact of the increased traffic flow, affecting those who live on Gateway and Harrison. Many are concerned with the school impacts and the lack of green space. Others worry the lack of parking will increase the on street parking on Gateway.

Nor do I care to clear away three acres of parkland to build townhouses.

I encourage each and every one of our town folk who resent this development to email the council or, better yet, come to the meeting and tell the council your concerns.

Your combined presence may make the difference. You might learn something you did not know before, you might find there are others that share your concerns; you might change a vote in your direction. Nothing like that will happen unless you get involved.

At the Tuesday, July 26, town council meeting there is a vote scheduled on the Crescent Parke development.

So get involved. Your involvement can make all the difference.

Kelly Burk, Leesburg Vice Mayor