The Leesburg Planning Commission used its first meeting of 2022 to explore two suggestions by Chairwoman Gigi Robinson: a second recreation facility, akin to Ida Lee Park Recreation Center, and a town-owned parking garage in the Crescent District.
At the commission’s Jan. 6 meeting, Robinson suggested the commission offer its input to the Town Council on two possible additions to the town’s Capital Improvements Program.
On the recreation center, Robinson cited the tremendous growth of the town since the Ida Lee center opened in 1990, and said a second such facility of comparable size was needed to serve the town’s growing population.
“As we get into deeper density and living, we’re going to need to have more Ida Lee-type facilities,” she said. “My request is, if you agree with this, then I think we need to get this in front of the council either via CIP request or a letter of some sort.”
Planning and Zoning Department Director Susan Berry-Hill, however, said a better first step would be for the Parks & Recreation Commission to offer its input on the matter. She also said Parks & Recreation Department Director Rich Williams had concerns about the operational costs of taking on a second a facility.
Commissioner Earl Hoovler said he thought the discussion was timely.
“Ida Lee is really becoming overtaxed in a lot of ways,” he said. “I think this is a good idea.”
Robinson added the town needs to “get ahead of the game because we are going to need land and we are going to need facilities as these houses get constructed.”
Robinson also recommended that the commission encourage the council to consider including a town-owned parking garage in the Crescent Design District, an area of the town eyed for redevelopment. She pointed out that the Crescent Design Master Plan calls for the town to assist with development in the area by constructing a parking deck, but such a garage does not exist in the current CIP.
The commission debated how much of the parking investment in the district should be by private development and how much, if any, should be public, without coming to a conclusion. Robinson said she was content to move on but encouraged Hoovler to write a memo to the council asking it to study the matter.
The commission will get its first glimpse of the new CIP at its next meeting, Jan. 20, prior to the council’s budget presentation Feb. 8.