Town Panel Grappling With Splash Pad Project

The Board of Architectural Review is reviewing plans for construction of a splash pad in downtown Leesburg, a project added by the Town Council in late 2015.

When it was added to the Capital Improvements Program, the $300,000 project was envisioned as an amenity to attract families to the downtown area and form a focal point for Mervin Jackson Park. Located alongside the Town Hall parking garage on Loudoun Street, the land where the interactive water feature is proposed for had long been debated as to whether it should be used for commercial buildings or park uses. The council voted in 2014 to make it a park and name it after Jackson, a former Town Council member and vice mayor.

Designs for the proposed Loudoun Street splashed in Leesburg.
Designs for the proposed Loudoun Street splashed in Leesburg.

Parks and Public Space Planner Bill Ference is overseeing the design of the project for the town. But before construction can proceed, the BAR must grant a Certificate of Appropriateness signing off on the overall design.

BAR members reviewed the project at their Aug. 1 work session, and voiced concerns about how the fountain fit into the area. Ference said the project is much lower key than other splash pads in the county, including those at One Loudoun and Lansdowne Town Center, as the fountains will be spaced four or five feet apart and the water will only come up a couple of feet in the air.

“It’s half aesthetic, half interactive,” he said of the design.

The total area of the project is 2,500 square feet and, in addition to the interactive water feature, includes a brick wall and iron fence surrounding the splash pad, tables, seating, and spaces for a downtown directory sign and public art.

According to Capital Projects Manager Tom Brandon, who is overseeing the project for the Capital Projects Department, if the BAR approves the plan, construction could begin in the fall and take up to five months to complete. The fountain would be open in time for next summer, Brandon said.

The BAR is expected to continue its review Aug. 15.

2 thoughts on “Town Panel Grappling With Splash Pad Project

  • 2016-08-17 at 12:17 pm

    During the six years (09-14) I served on the Leesburg Planning Commission, we spent an sizable portion of each year reviewing the Capital Improvements Program (CIP) Budget which is supposed to guide construction of public works over $60,000.00. This process began with inviting feedback from all the town Commissions and continued with 3-5 separate meetings (all open to the public) spent reviewing the CIP with Directors from every town department and managers from the Planning and Zoning department. Our goal was to thoroughly vet each project from a planning perspective and make thoughtful recommendations to Council.

    My recollection is that the CIP was reduced from dozens of projects to a number that could be executed on time and on within budget goals. My opinion is that this process was appropriate and discouraged Council and town staff from “adding” projects without thorough analysis and input. Additionally, following this process prevents the loss of dollars (5-10% of the total project cost) spent on the Design/Engineering phase when projects fail because of funding issues or additional votes.

    The CIP is located on the town website

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