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New Leesburg park to be named for former vice-mayor

The Leesburg Town Council voted unanimously Feb. 25 to name the town's newest park after former Vice-Mayor Mervin Jackson.

The "pocket park," located on Loudoun Street near the soon-to-be created mural, will be dubbed Mervin Jackson Park, thanks to a measure proposed by Town Council member Marty Martinez.

“I'm doing this because Mr. Jackson, I think, deserves to be recognized and a lot of other citizens deserve to be recognized too,” Martinez said.

Jackson, who died in 2009 at 79, first joined the town as a member of the Leesburg Planning Commission in 1975, staying with the commission until 1999 and serving 12 years as chair. From 1989 to 1999, Jackson was a representative of the Board of Architectural Review and was appointed to a vacant seat on the Town Council in 1999. The following year, he was elected to a four-year term, and in 2002 was named vice-mayor, a position he held for two years. For his day job, Jackson worked with the FBI, despite not having a college education.

"This is a good opportunity to really honor someone who has made a difference in the community," councilwoman Kelly Burk. "This is a good way to say thanks to someone who meant so much to the community."

Council members Katie Hammler, Kevin Wright and Tom Dunn, though they all voted in favor of the resolution, all noted that they still believed that the two vacant spots near the garage shouldn't be a park. Martinez dismissed Dunn's review of the park vote as political.

“I wish we could have just passed this without bringing up the vote,” Martinez said. “That's just sour grapes.”

While the name of the park has been decided, the town is now soliciting help from the public as to what amenities the park should feature. On March 13, the town will host a public input session at the meeting room at the Ida Lee Park Recreation Center. The town plans to provide a list of possible amenities and use input from residents, business owners and employees to cultivate several designs, which will be presented at a follow-up meeting.

Drafts for the potential park will be presented to the Leesburg Town Council in June.


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