The Leesburg Town Council approved a $45.3 million capital improvements plan Tuesday to build sidewalks in the historic district and lay pipes for storm drains in such areas as Fort Evans Road and King Street near Town Branch that have suffered from flooding in recent years. The vote was 5 to 2, with Deputy Mayor Mervin V. Jackson and Council Member Robert J. "Bob" Zoldos opposed.
In other action, the council unanimously passed a resolution of respect for former president Ronald Reagan.
"He has been a great American and a real inspiration," said council member David Barton Schmidt, who sponsored the resolution.
The capital improvements plan includes:
* Construction of the South King Street bicycle trail, which will receive $475,000 from the Loudoun County government. The town set aside $125,000 of its own money for the project last year, but the plan remains controversial.
"It's an unsafe project and a waste of money," Schmidt said at a work session Monday. Zoldos also was opposed, citing the possibility that the Meadowbrook development could build its own trail nearby. Schmidt, Zoldos and Jackson failed in a 4 to 3 vote to remove the item from this year's capital improvements plan.
* $550,000 to put in sidewalks, gutters and pipes on West Market Street. The project was strongly supported by council member Melinda H. Kramer, but other council members had expressed reservations. On Tuesday, several residents spoke about the project's importance to the neighborhood. Bob Reck, who lives on West Market Street, said that without a sidewalk, neighbors can't visit him and his grandchildren can't play in front of his home.
* $75,000 for a sidewalk on the north side of East Market Street between Harrison and Church streets. Local shopkeepers have said the absence of sidewalks was a danger to pedestrians and an impediment to business. "It restricts pedestrian flow coming down to my business, especially from King Street," said Joan Borissoff, who opened Borissoff's Gourmet on East Market two months ago.
One big project was deferred to fiscal year 2005-06: $440,000 to install traffic lights and a left-turn lane at Catoctin Circle and Edwards Ferry Road. The intersection has a four-way stop sign, but there is enough traffic during rush hours to warrant a traffic signal, said Nagi Elsewaissi, the town's capital projects administrator. Elsewaissi said traffic in the area will worsen next year after barricades that prevent vehicles from leaving or entering the Exeter Hill development are taken down when the widening of Catoctin Circle is completed.
The council also agreed to delay until 2007 spending $615,000 to dredge a pond in Olde Izaak Walton Park to remove vegetation and silt. Mayor Kristen C. Umstattd asked town staff to find out whether the developer of a nearby subdivision would be willing pay for it.