At her State of the Town Address Thursday night, Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk spent equal time addressing the past and the future.
Held on the Town Green with an audience of about 50 people, Burk focused on Leesburg’s wins, highlighting local businesses that weathered the COVID-19 pandemic and upcoming agenda items.
“I leave you tonight with a message that Leesburg is in solid financial and governance position," Burk said. "We have weathered the pandemic’s impacts and we are looking to the future.”
Burk started her address by inviting other council members to honor local businesses that pivoted to provide innovative new services during 2020. Councilwoman Kari Nacy and Councilmen Ara Bagdasarian, Neil Steinberg and Zach Cummings acknowledged Bowtie Strategies, The Clay and Metal Loft, United States Taekwondo Martial Arts Academy and ARM Consulting, respectively.
“The most brutal hit [of the pandemic] was to our small businesses, and they transformed to survive,” Burk said.
While acknowledging the challenges of 2020, Burk emphasized ways that the town succeeded in the past year, such as the Battlefield/Route 7 overpass and the creation of virtual services.
She stressed the Leesburg Police Department’s work over the past year, from positive interactions with protestors to the installment of the Emergency Communications Center as a secondary public safety point. With the Emergency Communications Center, she said, Leesburg residents can now contact Leesburg emergency services directly instead of routing through Loudoun County first.
“That is no small deal. We’re very, very proud of that,” she said.
Burk also touted her new mayor’s office as a win for Leesburg, saying “As the largest town in the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is exciting as the mayor to finally have an office to conduct business and create a welcoming environment for those who wish to meet with me,” she said.
For the second half of her address, Burk addressed the council’s agenda for the coming months.
Improvements to infrastructure include looking into clean energy and environmental programs, creating an economic development strategy plan, digitizing the town attorney’s files and beginning the construction of the Fort Evans Road and Route 15 pedestrian walkway.
Leesburg plans to sponsor new community events and to revisit the Virginia Main Street Program, which provides resources and assistance to localities looking to revitalize their downtown.
Also on the agenda for this year are the adoption of a new town plan and a joint meeting with the county government.
“We’ve been through a lot and done a lot this past year, and now we must look forward to the future. Continuing to respond to the needs and expectations of our residents, we’ll retain our high quality of living,” she said. “I am very honored and proud to say that I am the mayor of Leesburg.”