Howard County Blog

A Blog on what is going on in Howard County

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Moving Forward

Well, I am back from a couple days off blogging. I have had a pretty busy week, including helping put together something that I hope will help move the downtown Columbia redevelopment process forward in a constructive way. From the start I have said that I am in favor of redeveloping downtown Columbia, I just wanted a plan that works and that means a plan that creates a livable, economically sustainable downtown that reflects the Howard County values of mixed income housing, preservation of greenspace, and well thought through planning before it is built so that the infrastructure will meet the communities needs.

I have joined with a number of other people who have been following the downtown redevelopment process closely to form a group that will try to make sure that the final plan reflects what the community has been consistently saying from the first day of the charrette through multiple public speak out opportunities since. As we move forward in this I would appreciate you continuing to participate in the process either through participating in this new group or individually to make sure Howard County evolves in a way we are happy with. It will be important to have our voices heard through letters to the editor, attending town halls and hearings, and making sure our elected officials who will have to sign off on any plan hear our concerns and proposed solutions. This new group will present some foundations that we have heard from the community on which a revised plan can hopefully be built.

On Monday, October 16, 2006, in Hug Statue Park at the Lakefront in Downtown Columbia at 11:30am, exactly one year and one day from the opening of the Charrette, the Coalition for Columbia's Downtown will announce its formation for the purpose of carrying forward the many creative ideas and values the people of Howard County have put forth so far.

The Coalition will be advocating for a vision of a completed Downtown that will truly be worthy of carrying Jim Rouse's "Next America" into the future. The citizens spoke loudly and clearly a year ago for human scale development, affordable housing, sustainable buildings, and cultural amenities. Somehow these values have gone missing or are woefully underrepresented in the current proposals.

For Jim Rouse the four goals were respect the land, build a complete city, be a place for people, and make a profit. The potential for profit is evident. Some have put it as high as a billion dollars. Unfortunately, attention to the other three goals has not been as robust. The Coalition is determined to ensure that all four goals will be attained and in the order

Rouse held them!

The Coalition will present their goals, objectives, and initial proposals which coincide with the values put forth by the people, most notably on the first day of the Charrette. They will also discuss aspects of the county's proposed Downtown plan with which they agree and disagree.

The public is invited. For further information contact Alan Klein at

If you want some background on the counties current proposal you can find useful links to blog posts I have done on the subject here.

Please also continue to check here for updates on the county plans and how we can have a meaningful impact on fixing them. I suspect that right after the elections the process of redeveloping Downtown Columbia will start picking up speed.

I will also post links to the new group’s website as soon as it is up.

(Note: Some of the above is also in the press release and email announcement our new group sent out, so sorry for if it is a bit repetitive.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for both the community activism and the effort to coordinate your efforts. Relative to your comments about ensuring the other-than-profit facets of the plan get sufficient scrutiny, there was a good post at Columbia Compass that referenced this series of articles by Sharon Hudson, here, here, here, and here. The Bill of Rights she lists in the last article sounds very necessary.

11:54 PM  
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