Where we are, and where we are going
By Mayor David Leake
I never set out to run for public office, but I love this town, and I have always felt drawn to serve it and my fellow residents. Even the best intentions can fall flat if they are not backed up by good advice and sound judgment, so I have been fortunate to serve with a hardworking and dedicated town council—we have a shared vision to re-energize Haymarket and make it into a business-friendly walking town that residents, businesses, and visitors can enjoy.
To this end, we have continued to work hard to revitalize the town’s historic center. We are working with owners and developers to put town properties to good use; Payne Lane, the Haymarket Fairground, and the QBE building are just a few of the projects in store. Work will begin later this year to implement the master plan for the town’s government center, and the creation of the Haymarket Community Park will help us to build on our adoption of the HEAL (Healthy Eating, Active Living) program while also strengthening the town’s sense of community.
In addition to these physical developments, we have also undertaken internal changes to increase the efficiency and professionalism of the town’s staff, who work out of our town hall on Washington Street. This past fall, we hired a new town manager, Kimberly Murray, in an effort to deepen the town’s relationship with its businesses and local organizations. In addition to municipal experience, Kimberly has brought new ideas and a new energy to our administration.
We also created a new position, Director of Business and Community Relations, which is held by longtime town staff member Denise Andrews. Denise’s outgoing personality and her ongoing support of our town council’s vision for the ideas and needs of local business owners are invaluable in strengthening our business relationships.
By working together, we are able to gain valuable insight into the thoughts of the town’s business community, which will help us serve our constituents to the best of our ability. These changes have not taken place overnight, and they are not done yet, but we are certain that they will make the Town of Haymarket a more efficient and business-friendly municipality!
The final leg of our community development efforts has been the appointment of an energetic, dynamic, and community-oriented new chief to head our police department. Chief Kevin Lands has a strong record of community outreach that reached us all the way from his last position with the Town of Halifax, Virginia. Keep an eye out for your new chief—and the rest of our officers—around town. Be sure to welcome him and say hello. He and our officers would love to meet you!
It is no easy task to bring a small, historic town into the 21st century. But as public servants in such a special place, it is our duty to honor and preserve the past while also embracing the future. It is a privilege to serve as your mayor, and I hope you will not hesitate to share your thoughts with me. Our town is small, but it has so much to offer, and my fellow council members look forward to working with you as we continue to serve Haymarket … everyone’s home town!