Leesburg Town Council members voted Tuesday to broaden the proposed Sept. 11, 2001, memorial at Freedom Park to commemorate other dates in American history that signify the country's independence and resilience.
Council members rejected a design that included eight-foot-high replicas of the World Trade Center towers. Instead, they chose one that features a curved brick wall with scattered, engraved dates "relating to freedom," said Bill Ference, the town's park manager.
The bricks will mark such occasions as the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address and the attack on Pearl Harbor.
"This park is supposed to memorialize American freedom, so we shouldn't limit it to one event," said Ference, a landscape architect who designed the memorial.
Freedom Park, on the south side of town off Route 621 and Tolbert Lane, will open next spring and feature athletic fields for adult and youth baseball, football, soccer and softball. The 20-acre park is part of a 70-acre tract that the town purchased 2 1/2 years ago for about $2 million. Fifty acres went to the adjacent Heritage High School that opened this fall.
Council members told officials of the town's parks and recreation department last month of their desire to broaden the memorial after Ference presented them two options that focused solely on the terrorist attacks against the trade center and the Pentagon.
The design adopted Tuesday night, by a 6 to 0 vote, with one member absent, features a circular brick plaza 80 feet in diameter. A brick wall with engravings of momentous dates in U.S. history will go three-fourths of the way around the plaza. A granite monument the size of a clothes dresser, dedicated to the victims of Sept. 11, 2001, will be set in the back of the circle, with a flag rising in the middle.
The council also approved spending $225,000 to develop Catoctin Circle Trail, a path one-third of a mile in length that will connect Washington & Old Dominion trail to Ida Lee Park.
The state has given the town $100,000 for the trail, part of a larger network of trails built and planned throughout Leesburg. The vote was 5 to 1, with one person absent. Mayor Kristen C. Umstattd voted no, citing the budget shortfall.