Howard County Blog

A Blog on what is going on in Howard County

Friday, September 25, 2009

CA Press Release: Columbia Archives Mini-Course on Columbia

Columbia Archives to offer mini-course on Columbia

Sessions explore the four goals of Columbia and their effect on the history and future of the city

The Columbia Archives, a service of the Columbia Association (CA), is offering a course on Columbia every Wednesday in October from 7 to 9 p.m. Each session starts at Columbia Archives and then moves to the nearby Lakeside Café for a presentation and refreshments. The free sessions examine the goals of Columbia and how they guided development of--and continue to define--the city.

The series highlights the work of the Columbia Archives and celebrates American Archives Month. Attendance at all sessions is not mandatory. Registration is encouraged, but not necessary. To register for a session or to find out more information, please e-mail or call 410-715-3103. Columbia Archives is located at 10227 Wincopin Circle in Columbia Town Center.

Columbia Archives is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments are encouraged. Among the materials available are articles aboutColumbia from the local and national media; home builders’ brochures; and Merriweather memorabilia; as well as a large document collection that is available for research. For additional information on the Columbia Archives, please visit

# # #

10221 Wincopin Circle

Columbia, Maryland 21044

CA Press Release: Party's At Courtside Supreme Sports Club

This fall, the party’s at Courtside at Supreme Sports Club

Newly renovated facility to host Healthy Happy Hours and Tailgating Parties through December

Courtside at Supreme Sports Club has re-opened and is now offering several new special events for members to enjoy. On Wednesdays, Courtside will host Healthy Happy Hour Parties featuring healthy food and non-alcoholic drinks, music and giveaways. Parties will be held September 30; October 14 and 28; November 11 and December 9. Also, Courtside is the new place to watch football games this season. Cheer on the local professional and college teams with fellow football fans at Courtside’s Tailgating Parties.

Date Time Game

Saturday, September 26 TBD Rutgers vs. Maryland

Monday, October 26 8 p.m. Philadelphia vs. Washington

Monday, November 16 8 p.m. Baltimore vs. Cleveland

Monday, December 7 8 p.m. Baltimore vs. Green Bay

Newly renovated, state-of-the-art Courtside at Supreme Sports Club is the latest rental space offered by the Columbia Association (CA). The location is perfect for birthday parties, meetings or any type of event or social gathering. Features include the theater-quality, surround sound audio system with 21 speakers that complement three 46” TVs with DVD capability. The space can accommodate up to 100 people. Guests can enjoy the wireless internet access and new furniture. Supreme Sports Club is located at 7080 Deepage Drive inColumbia. Please call 410-381-5355 for more information or join the Courtside at Supreme Sports Club group on Facebook.

# # #

10221 Wincopin Circle

Columbia, Maryland 21044

Switchboard: 410-715-3000

Fax 410-715-0389

CA Press Release Dredging Lake Elkhorn

CA selects Mobile Dredging and Pumping Co. for Lake Elkhorn Dredging

The Columbia Association (CA) has awarded a contract to Mobile Dredging and Pumping Co., of Chester, PA, for the dredging of Lake Elkhorn. The proposed dredging plan follows the permitted plan and requires no amendments to the permits obtained for this project.

The Lake Elkhorn dredging project has been in the planning and development stages for several years. CA solicited the input of residents, Board members and other stakeholders to develop a plan that responds to community, environmental and traffic concerns, and presents a responsible approach to accomplishing the dredging within budget.

After canceling the first request for proposal, re-issuance of the request for proposals for Lake Elkhorn dredging was released on July 22, 2009. Proposals were due on August 18, 2009 and CA received four proposals. A five-person, multidisciplinary evaluation team was established and the proposals were evaluated. Mobile Dredging and Pumping Co. had the highest rated proposal which was satisfactory in all terms of methodology, performance time and cost, and met all of the minimum requirements of the request for proposal.

Construction of the staging area, which is located at the parking area accessed by Broken Land Parkway and adjacent grassy area, is scheduled to begin early October 2009. Active dredging and material de-watering is scheduled to occur from November 2009 and continue into the fall of 2010. This includes the hydraulic dredging of approximately 52,000 cubic yards of accumulated sediment from the forebay pond, main lake and the tail water pond. At the staging area, the hydraulically dredged material will be de-watered and hauled by truck to off-site locations for disposal.

# # #

10221 Wincopin Circle

Columbia, Maryland 21044

Switchboard: 410-715-3000

Fax 410-715-0389

Monday, September 21, 2009

Byron Macfarlane Files to Run For Register of Wills

Byron Macfarlane has filed to run for Register of Wills. This sets up what might be one of the more competitive races in Howard County in the 2010 election cycle. Incumbent Kay Hartleb is one of the last Republicans elected countywide. She has served as Register of Wills for the past 23 years and we all know how hard it is to defeat an incumbent, much less one that has served for over 2 decades. Yet Byron Macfarlane brings to the table a specialty in wills, estates, and trusts and a vision to make the Register of Wills office more accessible:

From Byron's website:

Howard County residents deserve improved access to the Office of the Register. Whether it is in person, over the phone, or online, I am committed to Howard County residents having improved access to important information and more easily finding answers to their questions.

I will overhaul the Register of Wills website for Howard County to provide detailed explanations of the services of the office, the probate process, filing requirements, information on estate and inheritance taxes, announcements about where and when I and my staff will be in your community, and links to other resources that are helpful to residents. I have posted some of these links on this website. I will also work with other Registers of Wills around the state, and the Attorney General’s office, to explore implementing an e-filing system that would expedite estate administration, cut down on costs to families, and reduce environmental waste.

I have know Byron for a number of years and he is someone with a deep passion for service and making people's life easier. When you combine this with his vision and deep roots in Howard County and this shapes up to be a potentially very competitive election.

Labels: ,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

CA's Proposed Design Plan for Symphony Woods PARK

The proposed concept plan begins the evolution of Symphony Woods into Symphony Woods Park. The goal for this plan is to develop the site into an attractive setting for public recreation and community events while protecting and enhancing the site's natural features. This proposed park will be a bold gateway to the woods and the Pavilion, and for the first time, a year round destination as a park.

The central focal point for the park will be a plaza to include an interactive water feature and a small café with restrooms. Green technologies will be used in the design of these structures. A place to play, relax and watch people, the park will become a destination that enhances the lives of those living and working in Columbia. Three other activity areas are proposed: a children's play area, sculptures, and future park related uses.

A bold circular walk tucked inside the woodland setting is designed to establish a 'sense of place' and provide for pedestrian circulation. This walk will define the natural topographic bowl and reinforce the visual axis connecting Town Center with the Pavilion. The center of the circle, with a modest amount of tree thinning, will be a special outdoor room for the community to gather.

More intensive activities will be located around the outside of the circle and its center will be left open for passive use. A boardwalk on the eastern side of the circle will allow natural storm water drainage and ensure that the walk will meet accessibility standards by not exceeding a 5% grade. The boardwalk will also minimize re-grading which is detrimental to tree roots.

Parking on the western edge of the park will ensure easy access for park users. The 120-space parking lot and some of the activity areas on the periphery of the circular walkway will support community events, minimizing compaction of existing tree roots. Many new trees will be planted for the park to replace those removed in park construction or due to decline. They will be located to provide shade and aesthetic appeal as well as to provide habitat and to absorb storm water.

A 'Woodland Garden' located in the eastern section of the park will showcase a variety of native and woodland plants. This special garden will be a destination by its own merits and will add to the experience of visitors to Symphony Woods Park. The Woodland Garden will link to the walkway system encircling the Pavilion grounds and to Columbia's pathways. Park visitors will be able to walk one mile by completing a loop around the pavilion.

A special gathering place for the people of Columbia and Howard County, Symphony Woods Park will add life and vitality to Columbia's Town Center. The concept for the proposed park establishes a definitive plan based upon a program of family-oriented recreation activities.

The measure of any great civilization is in its cities, and the measure of a city's greatness is to be found in the quality of its public spaces, its parks and squares.
John Ruskin

Symphony Wood Park Presentation & Survey

The Columbia Association's (CA) "Concept Plan for Symphony Woods" is available in a narrated slide show presentation at CA’s website:

There is also a short survey posted on the site and CA is encouraging the community to give them feedback on the plan.

Community input is very important to the planning of Symphony Woods Park. Please provide feedback on the features you feel would be of greatest benefit to the community. Your feedback is greatly appreciated and is essential in designing an amenity that is representative of our community.

Happy Constitution Day!!!

222 years ago today the US Constitution was sent to the states for ratification.

You can read the Constitution on the National Archive's website.

Now who can name the two Maryland delegates to the Constitutional Convention that did not sign the Constitution?


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Columbia Association's Position on Symphony Woods

Late last year, CA reviewed plans for Symphony Woods presented by General Growth Properties (GGP) as part of their submittal for the General Plan Amendment. After review, the CA Board chose to work with independent landscape architects and land planners (Cy Paumier and John Slater) to study options for Symphony Woods. The goal for this plan is to develop the site into an attractive setting for public recreation and community events while protecting and enhancing the site’s natural features.

Columbia residents are encouraged to attend one or both of the following meetings:

Wed, Sep 16 • 7:30pm__Visual Presentation of Symphony Woods Concept Plan
* Slayton House • 10400 Cross Fox Ln • Col 21044 • 410-715-3118

Sat, Sep 26 • 10:30am-noon__Walking Tour of Symphony Woods Concept Plan
• Symphony Woods • 5950 Symphony Woods Rd • Col 21044 • 410-715-3118
Designers will then lead the walking tour through Symphony Woods to help residents visualize the possible future of the park.

For more information, please call 410-715-3118.
CA encourages residents to attend one or both presentations and provide feedback on these concept plans.

The message below appeared in the Columbia Flier on Sept 3, 2009 (Full-Page Ad)

Symphony Woods: Preserve, Enhance, Admire
A Message from CA
To Columbia Residents

The Columbia Association is aware that the Howard County Council will be considering ZRA-113 and the General Plan Amendment (GPA) presented by General Growth Properties (GGP). The purpose of this letter is to provide the Columbia Association position with regard to the area identified in the GPA as the Merriweather portion of the Town Center Redevelopment. We are aware that GGP was required by the County to create a comprehensive master plan for all of downtown, including property they did not own. To this end, GGP offered a concept for the use of Symphony Woods, and stated their understanding that it was not their property and that it would ultimately be up to CA to propose a plan.

In July 2008, the CA Board of Directors approved a resolution that protects and enhances Symphony Woods by creating a park-like environment. The resolution states: “Future plans for Symphony Woods should include the following: (1) Restoration and maintenance of a vibrant natural ecosystem, (2) Provision for a gathering place for individuals and community events, (3) Merriweather Post Pavilion will be an exciting and active destination, (4) Limited roadways or buildings of a park-related scale, and (5) Connectivity and accessibility to the rest of Downtown.”

Our intent is to make Symphony Woods more attractive to residents by improving the grounds, adding walking paths, and introducing an interactive water feature and other park-like amenities. CA Staff has been working with consultants to create an exciting design plan for Symphony Woods Park. The concept plans will be introduced to the community through a communications plan over the next few months and additional input will be sought from the
community. The funding for the proposed Symphony Woods Park plan will be included by Staff in the draft FY 11-12 Budget to be presented to the CA Board for approval. CA is committed to enhancing cultural activities and opportunities in Columbia; It is our belief that these can be best accommodated in the Lakefront district, as opposed to Symphony Woods. CA’s intent to preserve Symphony Woods is reinforced by the County’s Vision Plan for Downtown that calls for preserving Symphony Woods and enhancing it with park-related features.

We ask that any Master Plan recommended by the Planning Board acknowledge CA’s intentions as owner of Symphony Woods.

For the Board,

Phil Kirsch • Chair, Columbia Association Board of Directors

Monday, September 14, 2009

Obama speaking in College Park on Thursday

What: Health Reform Rally with President Obama
Where: University of Maryland, Comcast Center
1 Terrapin Trail
College Park, MD 20742
When: Thursday, September 17th
Doors Open: 9am
Start Time: 11am

Admission is on a first-come, first-served basis, so please arrive as early as possible. There will be security and parking restrictions so plan accordingly.

All attendees will go through airport-like security and should bring as few personal items as possible. No bags, no sharp objects, no umbrellas, no liquids, no strollers, and no signs will be allowed into the venue.

Parking is extremely limited around the Comcast Center and the use of public transportation is stronly encouraged. The University will provide free shuttle buses from the University of Maryland-College Park Metro Station (Green Line) to and from the Comcast Center starting at 6am until two hours following the event.


Health Care Parady Video

Here is an article on Billionaires for Wealth Care.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

County Council Leadership

The powers of a legislator are to propose bills, amend bills, vote on bills and amendments, and if they can rally the support of their colleagues pass bills.

Thus one important way a legislator can show leadership, particularly if they were not the original drafter of the legislation, if the bill that is before them has problems is to amend that bill.

Tonight we saw the County Council show this type of leadership. They took County Bill 29 (CB-29) that came to them without a comprehensive community driven master planning process and they amended it to create a comprehensive community driven master planning process that each of Columbia's villages can undertake.

You can find the bill language and amendments here at the bottom of the page.

The following amendments passed:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14(in revised form), 15, 16, and 18

Amendment 14 passed, but the amendment itself was amended to add "and not overwhelm" so that the version of 14 that passed read: "If appropriate, secondary residential uses to support and enhance and not overwhelm other uses in the village center."

The following amendments failed:
12 and 13

The following amendment was withdrawn:

Sometimes the community requests lots of changes and it takes lots of amendments to get the bill to reflect what the community has been asking for. As I have told a number of people more amendments can be very good, if the amendments are enacting the changes county residents are asking for and if it improves the bill.

County Council members Jen Terrasa, Mary Kay Sigaty, and Calvin Ball listened to there constituents and made sure that there was a comprehensive master planning process in this bill. This is the legislative process working as it should.

Soon we will have the Downtown Rezoning Bill to deal with. It is very important that we keep clearly communicating with our elected officials what we want. In the case of CB-29, the testimony of Kings Contrivance, which proposed specific amendments to the bill proved very effective and nearly all of the changes they requested were incorporated into the bill. I strongly suggest that the testimony on all bills focuses in on specific amendments.

Labels: , , , , ,