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TOL PR 2016-04-12 Sycolin Cemetery clean up Town of Leesburg News Release For Immediate Release Media Contact: Betsy Arnett, Public Information Officer barnett@leesburgva.gov  703-771-2734 Loudoun Freedom Center and Town of Leesburg Partner on Clean Up of African American Cemetery Site Litter collection event planned for Saturday, April 23, 2016, as part of Keep Leesburg Beautiful month. Leesburg, VA (April 12, 2016) – On Saturday, April 23, 2016, the Loudoun Freedom Center and the Town of Leesburg are sponsoring a clean-up of the site of two African American cemeteries off Sycolin Road, south of the Leesburg Executive Airport. The litter collection event is scheduled for 10:00am to 12:00pm. The Town will provide gloves and trash bags and will dispose of the trash collected. Volunteers are asked to wear long pants and sturdy shoes. The cemetery site is located just north of the First Baptist Church of Sycolin (19978 Sycolin Road). In 1989 and 1990, the Town purchased approximately eight acres of land to provide a buffer for the south end of the airport runway. The property is the site of two burial areas affiliated with the Lower Sycolin African American Community that existed here in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Over the past several months, the Town has worked with Loudoun County staff and the Loudoun Freedom Center to collect detailed survey information on the burial areas. Researchers from the Town’s Thomas Balch Library have researched former property owners and the genealogy of several known individuals who are buried in the cemeteries. Town Public Volunteers use ground-penetrating radar to identify possible grave sites at the Sycolin Road property. Works staff removed fallen trees from the burial areas, cleared a path to the burial areas from the upper field, removed large amount of debris dumped on a portion of the property decades ago, and hauled away several deer carcasses that were left more recently by hunters. The litter clean-up on Saturday, April 23, will concentrate on the areas of the property leading to the cemeteries. “The Town is proud to support the documentation and preservation of this site an d assist the Loudoun Freedom Center in its efforts to share the stories of the historic African American communities and cemeteries that can be found throughout Loudoun County,” said Keith Markel, Leesburg’s Deputy Town Manager. During the clean up events, visitors will be able to walk down to the cemetery site. The Town will provide maps showing the transition of the land over the past 80 years and current aerial photographs showing the recently collected data points for the cemetery. Parking for the litter clean up will be in the upper field, off Sycolin Road. In the event of inclement weather, the event will be rescheduled. # # #