A Moment of Silence
Town Council began its June 13 regular meeting with a moment of silence for the 12 killed and many injured during of the May 31 shootings in Virginia Beach’s Municipal Center, and as a symbol of its solidarity and compassion for those who had lost family members, friends, and colleagues. A formal resolution of support was then adopted and dispatched to Virginia Beach.
Town Comprehensive Plan
Middleburg’s Planning Commission has unanimously requested that the formal adoption of the Town’s long-awaited and legally required update to its Comprehensive Plan be revised, and if necessary delayed, to allow the addition of language committing the town to optimize the efficient use of energy in the Town, and encouraging “green” energy practices by businesses and citizens, new and old. If possible a revised draft plan will be presented to Town Council for its approval in July, and August at the latest.
Hill School Solar
In late May The Hill School dedicated a new field of solar panels projected to supply roughly a third of the school’s energy needs. Sigora Solar designed and installed the panels; a project that Head of School Treavor Lord noted would reduce carbon emissions attributable to the school by roughly 120,000 pounds per year.
Updated Town Website
Town Clerk Rhonda North has been working with stakeholders and suppliers for months on much-needed updates and improvements to the town’s website, www.middleburgva.gov. On June 3 North reported that the site would be ready for review and revision by June 5. Two days of staff training on the site were set for June 18-20, with what she termed a “soft” launch following training. North asked staff and Council members to work over the site during the soft launch, to help identify flaws and get them fixed before the site was formally announced to the public.
North is also working with Town Administrator Danny Davis, Nexus Imaging Solutions and MCCI to digitize Town official records currently available only in paper form.
“Aldie” Firehouse Relocation
Loudoun County Supervisors have authorized the purchase of nearly twelve acres on the southwest corner of the intersection of routes 15 and 50 (Gilbert’s corner), a third potential site for a long-debated and highly controversial new firehouse. Kept to one story, the new structure could be built by right and would avoid affecting existing historic structures within Aldie.
Business and Economic Development Director, Jamie Gauche has requested the Town issue a formal Request for Proposals from outside consultants to help develop “a long term economic development strategy” for Middleburg with special focus on expected growth sectors; financial impact; empty storefronts; and preparations for recession. Proposals are expected to be in by late July.
Gaucher reported that 43 people registered and 32 attended the Town’s second Digital Literacy Workshop on June 4 at the National Sporting Library and Museum. Response to representatives from Visit Loudoun, Loudoun County Economic Development and the Middleburg Town Council was “ very well received and helpful” according to Gaucher.
Middleburg Oktoberfest is currently set for September 21, 2019, and will coincide with the Town’s fall Art in the Burg celebrations.
The Community Foundation of Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties and the Loudoun Education Foundation are to receive some $200,000 as part of Google’s forthcoming $600 million investment in two new data centers in Loudoun County.
The 1863 Fund
The 1863 Fund is an endowment set up through the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia to help provide long-term support for five parks along Route 50 and any other NOVA Parks lands that may be acquired in this area
The parks include Gilberts Corner Regional Park, Mt. Zion Historic Park, Aldie Mill Historic Park, the Battle of Middleburg/Mt. Defiance Historic Park, and the Battle of Upperville/Goose Creek Bridge Historic Park all played critical roles in the four days of battle in 1863, part of the Gettysburg campaign, that is known as the battles of Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville.
NOVA Parks has worked with many partners on the parks, including the American Battlefield Trust (Civil War Trust), Fauquier and Loudoun Garden Club, Piedmont Environmental Council, Mosby Heritage Area Association and Friends of Balls Bluff to preserve these sites and interpret their history to the public.
The newest park, the Battle of Middleburg/Mt. Defiance Historic Park just west of Middleburg was formally dedicated on April 26.
A new monument to the First Maine Cavalry was dedicated at Mt. Defiance on June 22.
Open Late Concert Series
The National Sporting Library & Museum has requested special event funding from the Town to support their Open Late Concert Series. The concerts are free to the public but cost the NSLM around $22,000, plus an additional $30,000 in staffing costs. As of May 23, the series had twelve partners/sponsors.
The Town’s Cultural & Community Events Committee recommended approval of a donation of $4,500 to the National Sporting Library & Museum for the marketing of the Concert Series, an amount needed as a match for a Virginia Commission for the Arts grant. Council was inclined to donate more and recommended a $5,000 grant.
Foxes (and Hounds) on the Fence
Debbie Cadenas, Chair of the Middleburg Arts Council, announced that its Foxes on the Fence fundraiser brought in $23,744 this year. One hundred submissions were received for the programs new poetry contest, and Jay Hubbard, who is currently creating a video about Art in the Burg, also videotaped the reading of the poetry.
A marble base has been donated to the Art Council’s Bronze Fox Project. That, with a $5,000 donation from the Middleburg Garden Club ensures that all of the funds needed have now been raised. The iconic fox will be ready to be bronzed in around forty-five days. A location for the statue is still to be determined.
Arts in the Burg
Cadenas reported that this spring’s Art in the Burg went well. The artists loved it, she said, the group had to turn vendors away for lack of space. Crowds, she noted, were a little smaller this year.
Mayor Bridge Littleton suggested that food vendors be added to the Fall Art in the Burg. He offered the Cultural & Community Events Committee’s assistance in bringing more to the Art in the Burg events.
Town Administrator Danny Davis reported that Business & Economic Development Director Gaucher was going to talk to Cadenas about expanding the Art in the Burgs into large festivals that centered on the arts.
Kudos to Ashley Bott
Council formally accepted the resignation of Ashley Bott, Treasurer, effective May 30, 2019, and appointed Tina Staples as Interim Treasurer, effective May 31, 2019.
A farewell reception for Bott was held on May and Council adopted a formal resolution of appreciation for her long and faithful service.
501.c.3 to Manage Health Center Funds
Middleburg’s Town Council agreed it favored establishing a 501(C)(3) to manage the funds raised by the Town from its sale of its Health Center Building. Such an independent organization, it was noted, “could grow the Town’s investment and fundraise effectively.” Managing the funds “in-house,” it was thought “would be onerous for the staff and that it would not get the time or attention it deserved from the standpoint of fundraising”
Council will serve as the organization’s Board of Directors for the first couple of years; and, once comfortable with the structure will, ideally, appoint others in their place.
It was also suggested that the Town Treasurer serves as a mandatory representative of the Town.
Town Council has reappointed Punkin Lee, Jennifer Long and Elizabeth Rice to the Middleburg Arts Council for two-year terms, with terms to expire June 14, 2021.
Jilann Brunett and Morris “Bud” Jacobs were appointed to the Town’s Wellhead Protection Advisory Committee for two-year terms, ending on June 14, 2021.