Thursday, January 15, 2015

Being Involved

I don't really like this title, but that's what this post is about.

Over the past year, I've become more involved in Columbia Association and Howard County. I hesitate to call it "politics" per se, but I'm sure that's what many would categorize it as. Obviously, being Field Director for my friend Tom Coale qualifies as pure politics. But I've gotten to know a lot more about issues in Columbia & the county so I've spent more time reading & interacting with my elected officials.

Back in 2009, I applied to be part of the CA Information Technology Advisory Committee. CA has many such committees dealing with sports, aquatics, seniors and the Art Center. Well, at the beginning of 2014 or the end of 2013 (it's been a blur), we had our first meeting. For 2014, we've had a couple of meetings that acquainted us with the current state of IT systems and ongoing plans. But now we've decided on our plan of action and are more "official."

With that in mind, I decided to attend my own village board meeting. Town Center is lucky to have its headquarters in a beautiful spot, Historic Oakland. When I say lucky, I mean mixed blessing, actually. Putting in an elevator to become more ADA compliant is super expensive. (And cool note - in the wedding pictures on the Oakland website, there's a gay wedding! Yay for including that in pics!)

Last night's meeting also included a presentation from Andy Stack, the former chair of the CA Board, regarding the past year's accomplishments and the upcoming goals. Milton Matthews, the new President of CA, also attended. He took a bunch of notes on questions from the Board members, which gives me the sense that he will follow through on resolving them.

Mr. Stack also highlighted what CA has done for Town Center in particular for the past year. Little egg on his face - he included Outdoor Pools as an accomplishment, but we don't have any outdoor pools. One can argue that we now have the pool at Haven on the Lake, but that's indoor and pretty pricey to access. That leads me to the pool at the Metropolitan, which kind of annoys me. Why aren't these new residents being encouraged to join CA and use the existing pools? I'm sure one of my friends could elaborate on that reasoning.

Fairway Hills Golf Club was also listed as an accomplishment for Town Center. Huh? Granted, I've only played the back nine a couple of times (I think golf should be 13 holes, 18 is WAY too long for this girl), but I'm pretty sure Fairway Hills spans Dorsey's Search and Wilde Lake. Plus, I lived on the 18th fairway and I lived in Dorsey then...

One Board Member asked about Inner Arbor and whether they had asked for money. Mr. Stack said No, but another person in the room said "Yet" in a certain tone...Wait, isn't Symphony Woods CA land? Wouldn't it make sense for CA to spend some money on its own land? Hmmm...

After the CA presentation, the Bridge Columbia leaders asked for the Town Center board to support their proposals for the replacement of the pedestrian bridge across Rt. 29. I was slightly familiar with this grassroots organization, but I have some more color around it now. Given our increasing traffic in Town Center, this bridge looks reasonable to alleviate some problems.

I needed to leave around 8, but things had become a little more informal by then. The Board members wanted to know why I was there! And then they encouraged me to run for Village Board in April. Another hmm...


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