The Leesburg Town Council recently authorized Town Manager Jeff Minor to negotiate an option-to-buy agreement on four sites in Leegate Industrial Park as part of a project that will certify Leesburg as a desirable economic development community with the state.

For such certification, a jurisdiction must own or have an option to buy at least four sites that can be commercially developed, according to Assistant Town Manager Stephen Owen.

Leegate, the town's only industrial park, is on Rte. 7 east of town.

Although the sites would cost the town $2.5 million to buy, the option agreements will cost only from $10 to $40 for each lot.

The community certification project is a three-year-old state program that requires jurisdictions to meet certain criteria in order to be listed at the state level as a desirable development community. With such certification, the state will cooperate with the town's development efforts by helping to sell prospective developers on Leesburg, Owen said.

The option-to-buy agreement is the last criteria Leesburg must meet to qualify, Owen said.

The others, including an economic development brochure and an audio-visual display touting the town's development opportunities, have been submitted.

The visitors center in the Loudoun Museum in Leesburg issued a tourism report recently that showed a slight increase in the number of visitors to the center over 1984 figures.

According to a spokesman, 3,162 persons touring Loudoun County came into the museum. This is 30 more than were counted last year.

There were four group tours and visitors were logged from 31 states and 13 foreign countries.

In addition, the museum mailed out 1,000 more brochures than last year and had an increase in telephone inquiries, with 874 calls compared to 756 in 1984. The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors last spring acknowledged tourism's increasing importance to the county as a revenue source by making the tourism department separate from economic development and giving Director Hugh Harmon his own budget.

The supervisors hope to attract an additional 20,000 tourists a year when the Ball's Bluff cemetery is developed as a battleground park, similar to the one in Manassas.