Editor: I wish to publicly thank the many who have sent me well wishes by Facebook, email and text following the announcement of my resignation from the Leesburg Town Council, which became effective Dec. 1. I wish to thank Loudoun Now for the very nice article about my “farewell from the dais” at my last meeting, which was Nov. 28.
It has been an honor and privilege to serve the past 10 years on the Town Council and Board of Supervisors and previous years as an activist and town and county commission member.
I hope I contributed positively to create a climate favoring transportation investments, such as the Metro extension to Loudoun, funding for Waxpool Road expansion, completion of Battlefield Parkway, the paving of Sycolin Road between Ashburn and Leesburg (unpaved until 2009), completion of the Sycolin Road overpass in 2014 and soon, interchanges instead of traffic lights at Battlefield Parkway and Rt. 7 and Edwards Ferry Road and the Leesburg Bypass. Significant progress to decongest Rt. 15 north of town is happening and there are plans to four-lane Evergreen Mill Road in town. Our long-haul commuter bus service, which I have championed, is a model for fare-based transit with limited subsidies.
Leesburg is more business-friendly due to private investment, spurred in part by reforms to zoning, architectural review and signage requirements that occurred in my first two terms on council. We see more restaurants, entertainment venues and more foot traffic as a result. My initiative to allow food trucks in Oaklawn and Cardinal Park has passed, and I hope the council will revise our outdated parking requirements for downtown development and streamline the onerous site plan approval process.
Following the special election to fill my seat on Feb. 6, the council majority will comprise members with fewer than three years of elected experience. It is my hope the veterans on council will show leadership and mentor these fledgling leaders. I offer my help regardless of political affiliation. I was disappointed the mayor and some council members refused to speak off line to each other, notably me, about issues. This is, unfortunately, common in some elected bodies, but I would hope the mayor and council would look to the fine example set by our current Board of Supervisors on collaborative bipartisan governing.
Leesburg is a great place to live, work and play and residents love our quaint and diverse town. but we need a mayor and council willing to direct the agencies and not just rubber stamp what they want. Despite my best efforts the past five years, most on council refuse to actively seek to get some of our tax dollars from the county for Leesburg Airport capital projects, the Balch Library, parks and flood prevention projects.
Other than transportation, schools and county buildings like the Courts complex or future expansion of the Plaza Street fire station, little in the county capital program is to be spent in the Town of Leesburg, and our citizens pay BOTH town and county taxes. Leesburg cannot afford, for example, to buy the Westpark Golf Course, but could do so if the Council would only ask the Board of Supervisors. Duplication of services by the town and county threatens higher taxes in Leesburg, which could lead to business and jobs leaving town. This has to happened to all-too-many communities in the U.S.
Serving in any elected capacity is a sacrifice; for me, it took a tremendous toll on my publishing business income, which is a major reason I sought full-time employment versus running for a second term to the Board of Supervisors in 2015. Thankfully, a great career opportunity came up recently—but in Hampton Roads, not the DC area. Hence, I could not attend council meetings regularly and felt obliged to resign.
I still own a home and commercial property in Leesburg and plan to write, speak out and be involved as much as I can.
I wish to thank the residents of Leesburg and Loudoun County. God bless.
Ken Reid, Leesburg