Skye Anderson, a member of the Hickory Ridge Village Board along with Jim Smith from the Harper’s Choice Village Board, spoke about the Columbia Bike Guy. He picks up trash along the roads. They want to give him a citation to thank him for his participation in the community. They are asking CA to create a similar honor to be located on a corner on one of the roads he traditionally cleans. They also asked CA to give him a key to the city of Columbia.
Alisa Nuffield spoke about the issue of plastic. She is a member of the group “Less Plastic Please”. She would like to promote and educate people about reducing the use of plastic. She asked CA to stop having plastic bags, cups, etc. in its facilities.
Pat Hersey is also with Less Plastic Please. She would watch people take a drink from a plastic cup then put it in the recycle bin. She says that besides needing to stop using cups, we are not recycling correctly. She would like to get funding to support the Less Plastic Please program. She asks that CA create water bottles with the CA logo that people can buy.
Joel Huerwitz spoke about recycling, and pet fountains. He also talked about the golf course and what to do about it.
Public Hearing for Additions or Deletions to the Conditional FY2020 Budget
Chris Fuchs, from Dorsey’s Search, spoke about a request for a tot lot in Dorsey’s Search. It is located on the pathway and near a townhouse community. The current facilities need replacement. There is limited seating so a few benches would be nice for care givers. The demographics in this neighborhood are changing quickly. Young families are moving in replacing older residents.
Capital Projects and Open Space Updates
New pickleball courts are now in Owen Brown. There are new picnic tables at Lake Elkhorn. Fairway Hills has a newly replaced bridge. The ice rink looks much newer and spiffier. The swim center has been renovated. A new roof, entrance, and lots of upgrades make this a beautiful facility.
The Athletic Club is coming along. It will be an exciting new facility. Everyone is excited about its opening. A new bio-swale has been built in Bryant Woods. Hobbits Glen Golf Clubhouse is going solar.
Jeremy Scharfenberg, CA Energy Manager, reduced CA’s energy use by 20% over the past 5 years winning an award for CA from the federal government.
There will be lights from the south side of Lake Kittamaqundi to the Kennedy Gardens. BGE will work with CA to provide these lights. The lighting will be similar to the lights along the multi -use pathways in Columbia. There was discussion about whether the lights will affect the homes that are at the north end of the lake with a clear view of the lake. The lights will not go past the Kennedy Gardens, so these homes it will be a distance from the lights.
Dennis Mattey, CA Director of Open Space and Facility Services, introduced Kyle Cope, a member of the Open Space team who talked about working on the Capital Improvements Project or paving crew. Kyle is a CA employee. There are also contract employees that work on open space and maintaining the areas along roadways and mowing.
Three Easement Requests from Howard County
The work will be done by the County. The best news is that the County is willing to take on responsibility of Homespun Pond so CA will no longer have to pay for the dredging and maintenance. This is the first of several ponds that will be handed over to the County for this purpose. There were questions about easements.
Ownership of the land remains with CA. A temporary easement says CA is allowing the County to access the property to put in a sewer drain. But once the work is done, the easement terminates. A permanent easement gives permanent access to the County to access the property, i.e. the Homespun Pond to maintain, dredge, or do whatever is needed to keep the pond functioning well and in good order.
Next Steps for the Fairway Hills Golf Course
There has been serious flooding twice in two years. The bridge at the golf course was washed out and needs replacement. To replace it with a more resistant bridge, it would cost twice as much as a concrete bridge. There are parts of the course that are in a flood plain. What do we do with this if we are to be financially responsible and create a more amenable course? A steel bridge would survive but there are concerns about the cost.
There was discussion about what to do with Fairway Hills moving forward. The Board wants to know what the community thinks about golf and other potential uses of this course. There is a possibility of a more family centered program making Fairway a nine hole course.
Hobbits is down 6,000 games over the past year. Golf is down generally nationwide.
Quarterly Update re: Membership
25% of members overall leave each year. The question is how many members after the attrition of the 25% remain with CA. Generally, CA is doing well keeping our members happy. However, there is always room for improvement.
Memberships dropped off a bit because of the closure of the Athletic Club, but there is the expectation that once the new club opens, memberships will rise again.
There is a new sales team with a new sales manager. They are reaching out to various groups and trying to be more responsive to people’s needs. CA is working with Howard County General Hospital to develop a program where CA can be the source for people who have heart issues to do rehab with support from CA. Many who go to cardio rehab often stop going and return to the sofa. It is hoped they will join CA and continue their exercise program.
The Board will discuss other Issues about membership during the budget process to see what else can be done to make it easier for people to become members of CA facilities.
There was discussion about the changes at Supreme Sport Club. There has been so much focus on improving Athletic Club that the Sports and Fitness group dropped the ball when it came to providing information about changes at Supreme Sports Club. Several issues were mentioned that need serious improvement. Customers that use that club have not been happy. The Board isn’t happy to hear the ball was dropped and customers aren’t happy. Improvements are expected very soon at this heavily used facility.
Draft FY2019 Charges – Climate Change and Sustainability Advisory Committee
The newly minted committee has submitted its charge to the Board. Jeremy Scharfenburg and Jim Lattimer presented the charge. The information is included in the packet for the Board work session (see link below).
The Climate Change and Sustainability Advisory Committee plans to do practical assessments and make changes that will benefit the community as well as CA. The group plans to look at climate issues that impact vulnerable members of the community, i.e. storms or hot weather that could negatively impact seniors.
Members also want to do community outreach to help strengthen the ability to showcase CA’s leadership and to guide the community to be more proactive in saving the environment. CA wants to mitigate impacts and make the community more resilient. Initially, the committee will work on what can be done on the short term, then move to long term improvements.
The year is going by so quickly – as they all seem to do. Remember to vote on November 6. Enjoy the cooler fall weather.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly if you have questions about any issues mentioned here. My email is below my signature.
Columbia Council Representative from Wilde Lake