Columbia Association Board of Directors
Work Session, July 18, 2019 (Agenda and background material can be found on the CA website.)
The Less Plastic Please organization was represented by Pat Hersey. This is not an advisory committee but she spoke to the Board to get support regarding this critical issue. Ms. Hersey suggests no longer having any single use plastics available at any event or club. The community needs to be educated to consider the whole life process of items purchased. People need to bring their own water in reusable bottles to events. Trees should not be removed. The eco grief we are all feeling needs to be addressed. Action is hope.
Cathy Spain represents over 300 members of the Howard County Pickleball Association. She has reviewed the tennis report and is glad that pickleball has been included. There will be a master plan for the association that includes Howard County as well as CA. The association asks that CA help to grow the game of pickleball.
Defne Demirekler, 15 years old, spoke to the Board for herself and others who are young. She spoke about the existential threat of climate change. Hurricanes, 1000 year floods happening annually, heat waves, and severe storms are frightening our youth. Declaring an emergency, will set a more positive lifestyle. CA needs to be the leaders and declare a climate emergency for the community. This must be the focus.
Howard Community College will host a sustainability day on Wednesday, October 23. It is National Campus Sustainability Day. Exhibits and movies will be from 10am-3pm. Workshops, meetings service projects and tours will be from 3pm-5pm. Sustainable food from 5pm-6pm.
Joel Hurewitz spoke about need for cans and recycling. He spoke of an urban park and open space.
Work Session Topic – Advisory Committee Annual Reports for FY2019 and Proposed Charges for FY2020
A few of the CA Advisory Committees presented to the CA Board regarding their work over the past year. The charges for the upcoming year will be voted on at the July 25 meeting.
Aquatics Advisory Committee
Bill Santos, Chair of the CAAC, spoke about the need for a new indoor facility. Several wading pools have been updated and continue to be updated. Running Brook pool now has space for children to interface with water rather than having a wading pool. It will be installed at two other pools as well. Ultimately there will be total of five in the system.
Minimum wage issue is a concern. Increased labor costs are a worry without reducing the number of people needed to protect pool users. The committee reviewed its by-laws. The Columbia Clippers have partnered with the Special Olympics swimmers. The CAAC is hoping to continue to support Special Olympics moving forward. The Clippers swim team is about 300 strong. The summer program is about 3,000 strong. The committee is advocating for a feasibility study for the indoor facility. Eight years ago, the CA Board had asked for the master plan which supported the indoor facility. However, with a $7.7 million dollar deficit in sports and fitness, it would be difficult for the current Board to support the construction of the desired facility at this time.
Climate Change & Sustainability Advisory Committee
Tim Latimer, committee Chair, introduced members of the committee that attended the meeting. There are now 3,800 signatories in this country to the climate change agreement. Community engagement and sustainability has developed an outreach plan to Village Boards and the community to demonstrate what can be done by community members to help promote sustainability in their own lives. The group has met quarterly. They are meeting to bring the best of what we have but cooperating and assuring they are not duplicating work. The idea is to make CA and everyone more resilient to climate change.
The committee is tracking developments in transportation and planners to move toward complete streets.
Tim also is hoping to develop partnerships with the county office of sustainability and leverage what they are doing along with others. Open space management practices could also be studied by this group. Tim suggested they also try to assess the community’s vulnerability. Time is limited as those on the committee are volunteers. The Board is very grateful for their serious and dedicated work helping the community find ways to ameliorate the climate changes we need to focus on.
Columbia Art Center Advisory Committee
Columbia Arts Center was represented by Barbara Kellner. She said there are 15 members of the committee, many of whom are artists themselves. There are special events committees, curated exhibits, and paint Columbia Plein air. This brought many people into Columbia and introduced them to our beautiful community. There was a Congressional youth art competition. Congressman John Sarbanes participated. There were many events that the Art Center created, and brought to the community. The center worked with a variety of businesses, the school system, CA pools, Festival of the Arts, the Women’s Giving Circle, Rep Stage, and HCC along with others. The lack of transition of the Long Reach Village Center has been a challenge. There is an ongoing conversation about how to make the center more welcoming. People who take classes are extremely happy with the facility. The staff is also praised for their hard work especially in this dated facility.
Health and Fitness Advisory Committee
Jessica Rennenkampf spoke about the changes that continue to take place to improve the Athletic Club. Customer Service, TRX, the Tribes system are all new and or improved programs that are getting a good deal of positive feedback. Pool memberships were down last year because of the very wet summer but this year membership seems to be rebounding.
International & Multicultural Advisory Committee
Valerie Montague presented information. A Sister City agreement was signed with a city in China. This committee celebrates diversity by age, culture, and ethnicity. World language cafe is held monthly at the 50+ center at East Columbia. Columbia now has five sister cities. The program will not grow for a long while because of stretching resources. HCC will have a study abroad that was created because of Columbia’s sister cities. It will help encourage the collaboration among the cities.
Tennis Advisory Committee
Leo Bruette said the committee is greatly blessed with the new tennis facility in Long Reach. The outdoor lighting is being installed in Owen Brown. There are pickleball courts and more to be resurfaced. Drainage is a problem at Hobbits Glen. Everything at the high end goes to the low end. The irrigation system will be replaced with a state of the art system. The improvements are upcoming.
The Long Reach Tennis Club got the outstanding Large Facility of the year award by the USTA in 2019. CA Tennis received the MACMA outstanding Kids program award for tennis Whizz, a preschool tennis program. There are increased numbers in participation in both adult and junior tennis programs. CA hosted state, regional and state high school tennis championships along with MD junior clay court championships. A junior team tennis program was created and attracted more than 70 participants in spring 2019.
CA hosted the second pickleball coaches’ certification in America with more than ten coaches certified as instructors. CA launched pickleball instruction, leagues and drop-in play programs for the new pickleball courts both indoor and outdoor. Tennis is remaining a popular sport with young and old. There are 7,000 tennis players. Pickleball has about 700 players. Half are CA members. 4,300 players are USTA players. Approximately 60% are CA members. The rest are non-CA members. These percentages are generally the same year after year.
I hope this information is helpful in keeping you up to date with all that is happening in and around Columbia Association. There are about a dozen advisory committees but not all presented to the Board.
Stay Cool and enjoy summer while it’s still here.