An formerly barren spot in the middle of Leesburg continues to receive a facelift thanks in large part to a $15,000 donation the village received last year from Candle-lite.
Wendy Holliday, a village council member until she decided to run for mayor a year ago and had to give up her council seat, said she was on a council committee to plan a green space in the center of Leesburg after the village received the Candle-lite donation.
The first phase of the project at the site of a former diary bar near the intersection of SR 28 and South Fairfield Street was completed about a year ago. Holliday said that phase included laying brick pavers and gravel over the lot, along with a circular seating area with a fire pit in the middle of it.
Holliday said the fire pit was also designed so plant containers could be placed in it during the warmer months. During last year’s Leesburg Luminaria, when there were not enough people to monitor a fire in the center of the village, Holliday said she put a live Christmas tree in the pit instead.
She said that this summer the village spruced the area up with potted plants, that there are plans to put a series of painted pictures depicting some of the village’s history on an old brick wall along the site, and that there are plans farther down the road to put a replica of a fountain that sat in the center of the village at the new project site.
“Some people here have the original fountain that used be in the center of town and was kind of a focal point near an old bandstand,” Holliday said. “It’s been so long ago that I don’t even know if they had bricks on the streets or just dirt, but there are plans to put a replica up in memory of the people who put this town together many years ago.”
The purpose of the whole project, Holliday said, “Is to have a nice space uptown that can be used during community gatherings or maybe as a way to get people out walking around and in the uptown area again.”
She said the first phase of the project cost about $16,000 to complete and that it would have not been possible without Candle-lite’s help.
“I don’t think a lot of people realize how much Candle-lite does for this town,” Holliday said.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.