VIRGINIA

Leesburg to consider plan for parking spaces by day, dining area at night

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Peter Burnett showed how his fourth-generation invention works.

A scale model depiction of the proposed mobile curbs that would allow Leesburg to convert parking spaces to dining areas by night.

"The first thing we do is take out our flush plugs,” Burnett said, as he unplugged one of the plugs so he could then crank up a curb that would temporarily turn parking spaces into dining areas along King Street in Leesburg.

"Then we just crank it together,” Burnett said, while getting help from a second person.

In a smaller model, you could see how the retractable curb would be built along King Street. A Barbie doll was used to show how part of the road would become a dining area during weekend nights.

A second metal barrier would also be used to keep traffic far from those dining.

"I think it's going to be vibrant. I think it's going to give the town of Leesburg extra panache, if you will,” Burnett said.

Burnett is an injury attorney in town and a member of the Downtown Improvement Association.

"We think really brings back that sense of community in the small town that we are,” he said.

The idea was born out of a need to compromise. Initially, the town was going to get rid of the parking spaces along King Street.

But business owners wanted the parking to stay.

The proposed solution for now is to leave the parking spaces so people can use them in the day time and put up the barriers for dining at night.

"To have that flexibility I think it would be great opportunity for us and for the town of Leesburg," said Jason Miller, owner of Wine Kitchen.

Those behind the concept think it could cost between $100,000 and $120,000 to build.

The city would also have to hire and pay a couple of people to set up and take the barriers down, Burnett said.

“It might help attract more visitors to the area,” said a woman, who works in Leesburg, but lives elsewhere.

For now, she and others will have to wait because it’s just an idea that, although popular, will have to go through the bureaucratic process.

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