Heading east out of Lovettsville drivers are seeing dramatic changes to the pastoral landscape.
Construction crews are just weeks away from finishing work to improve the blind curve at the end of East Broad Way—which splits into Lovettsville Road toward Leesburg and Milltown Road toward Waterford. Lines of trees on both sides of the road were cut back to improve sight lines, and the exit lane from Milltown Road was split off to improve the flow of merging traffic onto busy Lovettsville Road.
The project is just the first step in transforming that area of town.
Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) said the road project was necessary ahead of construction of the long-planned Lovettsville District Park on the south side of Broadway and a new community center on the north.
“It’s a dangerous curve and we couldn’t have construction vehicles and personnel coming in and out of the park or community center before that was resolved,” he said. “Once that’s done, and it should be soon, things will start moving along nicely.”
The traffic improvement, which cost $1.75 million, means the county can proceed with phase one of the new public park, which includes development of an access road (already visible from East Broad Way), installation of utilities and parking, as well as construction of three illuminated soccer fields, a baseball diamond, a concession stand and restrooms. It also funds a portion of a hiking trail that will eventually encircle the 90-acre park.
To date, Higgins said the county has committed $14.4 million to the park project. He cautions, however, that a lack of money could delay phase two. That phase includes the addition of an equestrian center—which Higgins said will be the largest in Loudoun County—an enclosed dog park, the completed hiking trail with pedestrian bridges, and additional park lighting.
Higgins said the project, approved by voters in 2007, was slowed by rising construction prices. With the region’s steady economic recovery, construction costs have since escalated. He said he hopes the county will have more money at the end of the fiscal year to cover the costs to complete the park, which he estimates at about $4 million.
If that money is unavailable, Higgins said construction of the park’s final additions could be delayed for up to a year, possibly longer.
“We just don’t know yet,” he said.
The supervisor praised Lovettsville’s elected leaders for their financial support and enthusiasm for the park. He said the town’s contribution of more than $200,000 for land purchases impressed the Board of Supervisors.
“They’ve really showed they have skin in the game and they’re excited to get things going,” he said. “That’s a welcome precedent for the County.”
Regarding plans for the new Lovettsville Community Center, which is a separate, fully-funded project, Higgins said construction will start this spring. In addition to a new community center building, a wing will be added to house a senior center, and a modern pool house for the existing community pool will be built.
“Basically the town got everything they hoped for,” Higgins said of the community center project.
If all goes according to plan, including securing money for the park’s completion, the park and community center should open about the same time in the fall of 2018.
Lovettsville Councilman Jim McIntyre said, although they have been a long time coming, the park and the community center will provide amenities worth the wait.
“Our community’s goal is to ‘live local,’” he said, “and the coming park and Community Center will bring even more opportunities for Lovettsvillians to do just that.”