Organizers, supporters, Town Council members and Police all indicate that this year’s Christmas in Middleburg festivities should well be counted among the best ever.
The Annual Tree Lighting Ceremonies were scheduled for Friday, December 2 at the Town’s Tourist Information Center, the “Pink Box,” located at 12 N Madison St.
On Saturday, December 3, at 11 AM hunters, horses and hounds were set for the Christmas Hunt Parade down Washington Street, also know as Route 50 or, for shoppers, Middleburg’s Main Street.
Three hours after the Hunt Parade, at 2:00 PM on Saturday, Middleburg was set to welcome Santa and formally kick off the holiday shopping season with it’s annual and wildly popular Christmas Parade.
For many this year’s festivities will be their first experience of Middleburg’s “new” pedestrian and (at long last) traffic-friendly Washington Street, with new brick sidewalks, crosswalks, lighting, signage, and meterless parking.
Police Chief A.J. Panebianco has been working with his colleagues in law enforcement from across the county to ensure traffic control that is safer and more efficient than ever.
New tools to manage the spectator experience have also been put in place, including measures designed to ensure that those watching the parade are kept safe, and those participating in the parade itself are protected from onlookers crowding into the parade route itself, endangering themselves and impeding the parade.
Long-serving Chistmas-in-Middleburg Chairman Jim Herbert, working with a host of volunteers, Town Staff, friends and Council members has been especially delighted with preparations. Every year is different, but THIS year will be extra special.
Middleburg and the Fire and Rescue Property
The Middleburg Volunteer Fire Department, which evolved over time into Middleburg Volunteer Fire and Rescue, was founded in 1936. In July 2015 it was officially restructured as part of the Loudoun County fire and rescue system, and staffed with paid professional fire and rescue personnel.
At that time the Middleburg Volunteer Fire Company, transferred ownership of its fire station property located on the north side of Route 50, on the western edge of Town, to the County
On November 10 Town Council conditionally approved a provision of the “Deed of Gift” between the Fire Company and the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors guaranteeing that the property would become the property of the Town of Middleburg “should the County cease to use the property for a fire and rescue facility.”
Town Financial Audit
Town Treasurer Ashley Bott and Town Administrator Semmes worked with the Town’s auditors to produce what Semmes described as “a clean audit with no concerning issues identified.
Progress was also noted on one of the Town’s longstanding revenue issues: a gap between the number of gallons of water purified and pumped out by the Town’s systems and the number of gallons billed and paid for by the Town’s water consumers. Leakage in some of the town’s older pipes has long been considered a major source of the “gap.”
Hail Storm Damage – $280,000 +
Town Council authorized Town Administrator Martha Semmes to sign a contract with Belfor USA for “repairs to multiple Town facilities” due to damage from the unprecedented hailstorm that hit the Town in June of this year.
Quotes for repairing the damage ranged from Belfor’s low of $280,119.74 to $380,145.89.
Work must be approved the Town Administrator and reimbursed to the Town Treasury by its Virginia Municipal League Insurance.
The Town also approved a revised “emergency leave” policy for all full-time and charter Town Employees, “in the event of weather conditions that necessitate closing the Town Office.”
Paid leave may be granted to “non essential” personal under those conditions, with the approval of the Town Administrator. “Essential” personnel, including police officers and Town maintenance personnel, will be paid “emergency leave” pay in addition to their regular compensation for the hours they work.
Police Chief A. J. Panebianco reported that, from his department’s perspective, this year’s Middleburg Film Festival could not have gone more smoothly. Middleburg officers work closely with the Festival’s private security force to provide protection for an extraordinary annual gathering of some of the world’s finest filmmakers, critics and fans.
Visitors to Middleburg will note that the Town’s all-too-familiar and all-too-demanding street side parking meters have disappeared. Henceforth parking will be free for limited lengths of time in spaces all around town.
New signs will indicate how long one may park without incurring a fine. Currently spaces are scheduled to be marked as “15 minutes,” “3 hours,” and “8 hours.”
Some variation of a new electronic “chalking” system will ensure fair and documentable enforcement of the time limits. Instead of “chalking the tires” of parkers to time their occupation of a parking spot, the new system electronically records a parker’s license number and the time at which an officer began timing the length of a parker’s stay.
Chief Panebianco and Officer Heather Fadely represented Middleburg at a special event celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the National Police Officers Memorial, near the National Building Museum in downtown Washington, DC. Middleburg Town Sergeant Henry Milton Seaton’s name is inscribed on the memorial. Seaton, killed on November 25, 1899, was the first Loudoun County Police Officer known to have been killed in the line of duty.
Board of Zoning Appeals
Educator, former Town Council Member, and preservationist Eura Lewis has been elected Chair of Middleburg’s powerful Board of Zoning Appeals. Steve Hallmark was elected Vice Chair.