Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk on Monday delivered an upbeat State of the Town address which stressed the importance of residents being involved in their town government.
Speaking before a small crowd largely comprised of members of the Town Council members and town staff in Town Hall, Burk covered a wide range of issues in her 20-minute speech, including the town’s sound fiscal standing, robust housing and business growth, the positive economic impact of Leesburg Executive Airport, and the upcoming completion of several important road projects. Among the challenges facing the town are the rising cost of housing, planning for the closing of the town’s Walmart store when a Super Walmart opens south of town next year, and dealing with the impacts of the Board of Supervisors’ plan to build a stadium near the town limits.
A central theme was to encourage residents to increase their participation in town government.
Burk used the public debate over a developer’s plans to build a subdivision on the Westpark Golf Course property as an example of how the public can make a difference. “This project is an example of residents being involved and letting the council know what they envision for their area of town,” Burk said. “Residents’ involvement with the council helps us to understand the impacts to an area. We cannot govern in a vacuum, so we need your involvement in town issues.”
Burk also said she will suggest an annual survey of town residents to garner more feedback. “One year could be for residents’ concerns and ideas, the next could be for the businesses,” she said. “This is just one more way of reaching out to the residents and businesses and let them know we are listening, we care, and we will do what is best for them and the Town of Leesburg.”
Other initiatives highlighted were improving the town’s bicycle network, increasing opportunities for town staff training, and taking a fresh look at the Crescent Design District regulations that were adopted in 2005 to guide redevelopment around the downtown area.
“Your input is valuable to staff and council alike,” Burk said. “We welcome your presence at the Town Council meetings, but if you cannot attend, emails are always accepted and read. My objective is to understand the community and its needs and desires while preserving the history of Leesburg.
“The Town of Leesburg is in strong financial shape and it is a fine place to live, raise a family and grow a business,” the mayor said.
Watch the presentation or read the full text of Burk’s remarks below.