Loudoun County’s parks and recreation department will shift its operations out of downtown Leesburg next year, the Board of Supervisors voted Oct. 2.
On a 6-2 split, with supervisors Ken Reid (R-Leesburg) and Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) opposing and Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) absent, the board announced intent to sign a seven-year lease in Ashburn Commons on Ashbrook Place road, taking the 80-employee department away from 215 Depot Court S.E., just off Harrison Street in Leesburg.
The county has been unable to negotiate an suitable price to stay in the current location, according to supervisors.
Terms of the new lease in the Ashburn building include a first-year price not to exceed $473,697 for the 21,185 square-feet space, or $22.36 per square foot. The relocation will come next summer, with July 1, 2013 the effective date on the motion from Supervisor Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run).
Much of the discussion regarding the shift took place in closed, executive session.
Following the initial motion from Williams, Reid offered a substitute measure urging the county to look at purchasing space, preferably in Leesburg. He expressed concern that some merchants may see a drop in their business with the department leaving the downtown area. Moreover, he wondered whether it was a smart move considering a small percentage of employees within parks and recreation will have to travel to the county’s main government center in Leesburg.
The Leesburg supervisor was unable to garner support for his proposal.
Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) said it was all about saving the county – and the taxpayers – money. He estimated that the move will save the county $1 million over a five-year span. Additionally, he pointed to the fact that the parks and recreation employees themselves are in favor of the transfer.
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