A small park, complete with benches and small trees, will soon take over two vacant parcels located just outside of the town's parking garage entrance on Loudoun Street.
The Leesburg Town Council voted 4 to 3 Tuesday night, with Vice Mayor Kevin Wright and council members Tom Dunn and Katie Hammler dissenting, to move forward with the park idea rather than selling it to a potential buyer.
During a previous meeting, council member Dave Butler requested a vote be taken regarding the disposition of the town-owned parcels. They've been vacant for a long time, he said, and it's about time that something is done.
Butler suggested the idea for a park and said it would be good for the local residents to have. Councilwoman Kelly Burk, who brought up the idea for an art mural back in June, echoed his comments. It would be great for the those who shop in the downtown area, she said.
Councilman Marty Martinez said he was a little torn. Although the park would be a good idea, he could also see the benefits of selling the parcels.
Vice Mayor Kevin Wright said there has been past interest in purchasing the land. It's just a matter of looking into the best option for the space, he said, prior to listing it for sale.
During Tuesday's meeting, Wright suggested a motion to move forward with a park while looking into other options. Town Manager John Wells could draft an ad and bring it back to council for further direction, he said, prior to a sale.
Councilwoman Katie Hammler said she would support Wright's motion because there are very few options when generating new revenue within the town.
"We can all philosophy how much we like parks," Hammler said. "but we have to understand that decisions like this are going to make or break our financial goals."
Councilman Tom Dunn said he would also support Wright's motion but would not support going forward if the property wasn’t sold.
It's not a good use of our economic development resources, he said, to turn our back on selling the land.
Other council members disagreed and felt there were other options for those who wanted to do business within the town. Wright's motion failed 4 to 3.