An anonymous Middleburg couple has donated about $140,000 to a citizen's fund-raising committee, giving the town what it hopes will be enough cash to buy its historic visitors center, the Pink Box.

Mayor C.L. "Tim" Dimos said the town has extended an offer to purchase the Pink Box for $200,000 from its owner--who also has declined to reveal her identity--and is awaiting a response.

"We got some extraordinarily good news," Dimos said. "It's a local couple who has some concern about the Pink Box and saw to it that we got what we needed."

A group of townspeople has been raising money to buy the brick-and-clapboard building since its future became uncertain after the property changed hands twice in the last year.

The longtime owners, a family with close ties to Middleburg who had rented the building to the town for only $200 a month, sold the property to Middleburg Safeway LLC last fall. The new owner increased the rent and allowed the tourist center to stay on temporarily.

But before any long-term resolution was reached, the property was sold again and the current owner agreed to allow the visitors center to remain a tenant while residents raised the cash to buy it.

A fund-raising committee had raised about $60,000, and the town was considering providing a loan for the remainder of the funds, but the owner was adamant that no taxpayer dollars be used.

The donation, which was made over the weekend, solves that problem, Dimos said.

The fund-raising marks the second time that townspeople have rallied to preserve the property. The tiny structure was close to demolition in 1991 when residents raised money to convert it into a visitors center.

The assessed value of the property is $245,000, town officials said.

Water Conservation Urged in Leesburg

The Leesburg Town Council is asking its residents to voluntarily conserve water in the face of a persistent heat wave and drought.

As water flows in the Potomac River reach a record low, Leesburg officials said they are worried about putting additional strain on the system. In Leesburg, water demand has reached a record high of 5.365 million gallons a day, officials said.

Funds to Put Additional Deputies at Schools

When school begins next month, law enforcement officers will be regular visitors at all Loudoun County middle and high schools.

The Board of Supervisors last week approved more than $272,000 for three new school resource officer positions for the county's six middle schools. The board also voted to earmark $59,801 that will be used with $33,122 in state grant money to pay for an officer to cover Loudoun Valley High School, the only county high school without an assigned officer.

Loudoun Sheriff Steven O. Simpson said school resource officers not only "investigate and prevent crime" but also "interact with students in many positive ways."

The Sheriff's Office now has school resource officers at Park View High School, Broad Run High School and Potomac Falls. An officer from the Leesburg police force covers Loudoun County High School.

Each new school resource officer deputy position will cost an estimated $90,700 the first year and about $55,990 the next year. The initial cost of creating each position includes the purchase of a cruiser, radio, laptop computer and other equipment.

In addition to typical academy training, school resource officers learn about conflict resolution, school crisis planning, peer mediation and drug abuse.

Group to Back Slow-Growth Candidates

An anti-sprawl group that worked hard to help Loudoun Supervisor Scott K. York (Sterling) win the Republican nomination for board chairman indicated this week that it will press for slow-growth candidates in November's general election.

The group, Voters to Stop Sprawl, released a copy of a questionnaire it plans to send to all board candidates. Joe Maio, who is married to Peggy Maio, the Loudoun representative for the Piedmont Environmental Council, and serves as a spokesman for Voters to Stop Sprawl, said the group would support candidates who promise to get growth under control and "expose the phonies."

Since York defeated incumbent board Chairman Dale Polen Myers (At Large) for the Republican nomination, Joe Maio said, "Every candidate has become an instant sprawl-buster." Myers has since filed to run as an independent.

The questionnaire asks a wide range of questions--about issues ranging from traffic calming on Route 50 to whether the candidates would support annual cost-of-living increases for teachers.