Mayor Vance delivers ‘State of Hillsboro’ address
More than 100 people gathered to hear an upbeat and optimistic “State of Hillsboro” report from Mayor Roger Vance on Saturday, including Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.-10th), Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) and Supervisors Tony Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) and Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin).
Prior to his address, officials held a ribbon cutting and breakfast to celebrate the recent approval and expansion of the town's boundaries.
Mayor Vance's report was positive, focusing on the fact that many of the town's projects are soon to begin in a “tangible” way, which he said will “reinvent Western Loudoun.”
Projects include a major initiative to build sidewalks and a better traffic flow through the downtown area of Hillsboro, as well as installing a new water and wastewater system.
Vance explained the town's water had been supplied by a spring for 200 years, however, recent water testing has determined the water needs to be filtered in order to be drinkable. After attempting to use a well water supply, officials found the system was not strong enough. Since then, they have found a new water source and received grants to almost fully fund a new water system.
Vance said they are working with the Department of Transportation to combine efforts in order to save money and shorten the amount of time the road is torn up for the two projects, with an estimated completion date set for 2020.
Vance predicts that, with modern infrastructure, it will be transformative moment for Hillsboro.
“The town used to be a busy place with shopping and was a center and hub for the area. With the growth of agritourism in this area, we are coming back to that again,” Vance said. “We are on the precipice of bringing to fruition a vision that will honor and preserve the 250-year legacy and landscape of this town and ensure that Hillsboro will not just survive, but thrive.”
The mayor continued, “It has been through the hard work and dedication of many in this room that we are in a place where we can realize this vision. Their steadfast efforts and commitment to community over many decades are inspirational to me, as is the selflessness shown by so many who have just recently joined our area.”
Vance also mentioned an initiative to re-establish Hillsboro's identity with a new zip code, not under the town of Purcellville.
“We have broad support for that,” he said.
A few other highlights from 2016 include establishing the Greater Hillsboro Business Alliance; serving as a founding town on the new Artisan Trail; welcoming the opening of the Hillsboro Charter Academy; continuing to serve as a hub for the rural business economy.
Vance said they are actively talking with people about what types of establishments would work best in the town.
“We have two nice bed and breakfasts, and this would be the perfect environment for dining and other tourist-related activities,” Vance said, adding he would also like to see bike paths to connect the town with the area's wineries and breweries. The Old Stone School will be hosting a Western Loudoun Bicycle Path Summit in April.
With a state park down the road, wineries, breweries, farms, and more, Hillsboro is facing the “perfect” time for planning and looking ahead at how to serve the broader community.
“I've had the honor and privilege to serve as the mayor of Hillsboro for a dozen years now, and I can say that I've never been more optimistic or encouraged than I am today,” Vance said.
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