Supervisor Ken Reid is requesting that the Loudoun County Board reconsider a recent 6-2-1 vote regarding the relocation of the county Parks, Recreation and Community Services (PRCS) Department to a new building in Ashburn.
The Oct. 2 approval would allow the PRCS to be moved from its downtown Leesburg location to 20145 Ashbrook Commons Plaza. The current lease for the building at 215 Depot Ct. expires in June 2013.
“This is the first time, to my knowledge, that a county department headquarters has been moved out of the town and I strongly encourage my colleagues to reconsider this move,” Reid said, as stated in a press release. “Filling vacant office space in Leesburg is already a challenge with the market weak. Adding 25,500 square feet of vacant space to that is a mistake and harmful to an already vulnerable downtown economy.”
Reid said that, in years past, it has been county policy to purchase buildings, not lease them, due to a greater savings for the taxpayer. For example, the county purchased space for the Sherriff’s Department at 801 and 803 Sycolin Rd. SE and is acquiring land and buildings routinely for other county departments, Reid said.
However, staff said they did not examine purchasing space for PRCS because the Board of Supervisors has not decided on whether to expand the county courts in downtown Leesburg, or build new space south of town off Sycolin Road.
“In my mind, it is wrong to link the two issues,” Reid said, adding there is no need to rush to sign a five-year lease on space in Ashburn when the board will be deciding in a month or so on restarting the process of designing a new courts complex.
In addition, virtually all stakeholders want to keep the courts in downtown Leesburg, not move the courts to Sycolin Road, Reid said, noting the Board’s Finance and Government Services Committee will be hearing the matter formally on Oct. 22.
Reid has requested that staff hold off on signing the lease at least until the next board meeting Oct. 16 to see if there is 25,000 square feet of space in the Leesburg area that can be purchased for PRCS. If so, the board could move to reconsider the Ashburn lease.