Efforts to preserve the former Westpark Golf Club property in Leesburg as open spaces are advancing.
On Monday, Chuck Kuhn, via his attorney, sent a letter to Mayor Kelly Burk, offering the town the opportunity to purchase the majority of the Westpark property from him for $3.4 million. Kuhn, known locally as the CEO of JK Moving Services and as a noted conservator of land, is under contract to purchase the property. The letter, which Loudoun Now obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request, offers the town the opportunity to purchase 134 acres of the land that for more than 50 years was home to the golf course.
Under the conditions of sale spelled out in the letter, the 134 acres would be placed into conservation easement. Kuhn would retain the eight acres of the Westpark land that is currently zoned for commercial use for the development of a hotel site. He said via email that he has not yet determined what he would do with the commercial property, but made his hopes for the town clear.
“We are attempting to place the current golf course into conservation easement and sell the property to the Town of Leesburg post easement at a greatly reduced price with the hopes that the Town of Leesburg would create a public park with the open space,” he said. “We are working closely with Mayor Burk who is a strong advocate for protecting the open space at the Westpark Golf Course,” he wrote.
The letter from Kuhn to Burk states that the purchase agreement must be drafted between the two parties and executed by the seller and purchaser no later than July 1.
The Westpark property originally went up for sale in the late summer of 2017. The original contract purchaser, CalAtlantic Homes, which later was acquired by Lennar, envisioned a townhouse development on the land. Those plans were largely opposed by neighbors and the Town Council last year denied a rezoning application for that project.
Many residents in previous community meetings have urged the town to purchase the land and either develop it as a park or continue its golf course use. A memo to the Town Council in late 2017 recommended against operating the property as a government-run golf course, citing the high costs of maintenance, operation, and capital improvements, and low return on investment.
The Town Council has not yet discussed purchasing the property as a government body, and it was unclear whether a work session on it would be scheduled in the near future. The offer to acquire the property at $3.4 million comes in the midst of an upcoming difficult fiscal year 2021 for the town, with Town Manager Kaj Dentler recently putting fiscal year 2020 revenue losses for the town in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic at around $600,000.