Thursday, December 5, 2013
However, there are still issues with feeder systems and lingering problems with balanced enrollment and capacity that I feel still need to be addressed. That is why I have come out with a plan that will address these issues at primarily the Middle School level and a little bit at the Elementary level that is truly comprehensive. I will break up each region of the County and address their needs individually.
First there's the Southeast, here I don't really have complaints. I think the move of the Murray Hill Road area from Patuxent Valley to Hammond MS fits perfectly with the 2012 move from Atholton ES to Hammond ES.
I also agree with the move of the Guilford Elementary District from Patuxent Valley to MS #20 as well as the move from Patuxent Valley to Owen Brown (Lake Elkhorn) This allows for Guilford to only feed into two Middle Schools instead of three
This leaves Patuxent Valley open to provide relief to the over crowded Murray Hill. It was decided that the Forest Ridge feed to Murray Hill would close and all Students from Forest Ridge will attend Patuxent Valley.
Another move I'm happy with. This got rid of a small section of Emerson that attends Murray Hill Middle and Hammond High as well. In 2015 some changes will have to made on the High School level.
In the west, there is a lot of open capacity. For quite a few years there's been talk of closing the aging and under populated West Friendship Elementary. I say do it already! Bushy Park is also under capacity and can absorb West Friendship with relative ease. This will eliminate an old building that dates back to 1925 as well as fully utilizing a brand new School that opened in 2007 that was always under capacity.
On the Middle School Frontier, the west also has capacity to spare. That's why when I read that that only part of the Fulton ES/ Hammond MS feed would be eliminated I was a tad confused. The reason being that they didn't want to have over crowding at Lime Kiln. I agree that moving kids from one crowded School to another is not a good move but the western edges of the Lime Kiln District can be moved to under crowded Schools to create a good feeder system.
First there's Clarksville MS. Enrollment is dropping at this School and is projected to continue this trend. That's why I have opted to redistrict a large portion of what was redistricted in 2012 from Fulton to Pointers Run to Clarksville MS. The only part of Pointers Run remaining at Lime Kiln is the portion attending Reservoir HS.
On the same note, in 2012 part of Fulton was moved to Dayton Oaks. Dayton Oaks had been another large new School built in the west that hasn't had the growth originally projected. This move from Fulton has been a big help. However, the School is split between two Middle Schools. As a result, in order to stop potential overcrowding at Lime Kiln, I have opted to redistrict all students from Dayton Oaks currently in the Lime Kiln District into Folly Quarter, where the vast majority of Dayton Oaks Students attend Middle School. Like Clarksville MS, Folly Quarter is under crowded and can absorb additional Students with relative ease.
Next, there's the Northern region of the County. There is projected to be significant over crowding at the four Northern Middle Schools (Burleigh Manor, Dunloggin, Mount View and Patapsco) in the coming years. This may result in Capital Projects being done (I hope it does) but in the mean time, we can redistrict to balance out feeds.
With this past year's redistricting, St. Johns Lane and Holliefield Station no longer feed solely into Patapsco. There are small feeds to Dunloggin in each School. As a result I have opted to redistrict the Kaiser Park/Howard's Ridge Community to Patapsco.
The same move will occur to the Ellicott Grove/Governor's Run Community. After this, both St. Johns Lane and Holliefield Station will feed solely into Patapsco.
In order for Patapsco to handle this influx of new Students, I have opted to redistrict the feed that was redistricted at the Elementary level from St. Johns Lane to Waverly from Patapsco to Mount View. This will restore the feed that all Students attending Waverly will attend Mount View.
Finally we come to Burleigh Manor. Some tweaking to the Burleigh Manor District is necessary to balance out the numbers at Dunloggin and Mount View.
Therefore, I have opted to redistrict the Chatham Gardens Community from Burleigh Manor to Dunloggin and the Brantwood/King's Gift Community from Mount View to Burleigh Manor.
Next we come to the northeast. This is where the most drastic redistricting for 2014 has occurred. Rather than redistricting a larger portion of Elkridge Landing to MS#20 and back filling it with Bonnie Branch Students, I have opted to leave most of those Students at Elkridge Landing and redistrict only the Belmont Station and Oxford Square Communities to MS#20.
The real relief for Elkridge Landing is west of I-95. The Lynwood Square/Rockburn/Shady Oak Communities will all be redistricted to Bonnie Branch. Obviously, the Communities of the Rockburn Township and Grovemont will remain at Bonnie Branch as a result.
The most drastic change occurs with Mayfield Woods. As of right now Mayfield Woods has a large population and is currently over crowded with projections predicting that the population will grow drastically. As a result I have opted to redistrict a larger portion of Mayfield Woods to MS#20. In addition to the new Route 1 Communities, I have included the Deep Run Mobile Home Community to be included in MS#20's District The Old Highgate Road Community will remain at Mayfield Woods.
I purposefully over redistricted from Mayfield Woods so I can in turn redistrict other Students to Mayfield Woods, Students living in Long Reach to be exact. Some Long Reach Students already attend Mayfield Woods but currently there's an island that consists of Phelps Luck, a little bit of Locust Park, and a little bit of Kendall Ridge that attends Bonnie Branch and is slated to remain there. Instead, I have opted to redistrict this island to Mayfield Woods to get rid of the island and have Phelps Luck ES feed only into one Middle School; Mayfield Woods.
Seeing as the West Columbia Middle Schools are fine as they are given that Wilde Lake MS will be rebuilt, our last region of the County is East Columbia. One crowded School in the northeast that was not addressed was/is Ellicott Mills.
Enrollment has been sky rocketing at Ellicott Mills and is projected to continue doing so. As a result, I have opted to redistrict the Mont Joy, Columbia 100 Parkway, and Glenmont to Oakland Mills MS. This was done to up enrollment at Oakland Mills to so that when it comes time to renovate Oakland Mills, the County feels the need to build a new Oakland Mills MS just like they're doing with Wilde Lake.
Also in East Columbia is Owen Brown/Lake Elkhorn MS. Currently this School is under crowded. This has been partially addressed by redistricting a small portion from Patuxent Valley but it wasn't enough. To fix this, I have opted to redistrict the Sewells Orchard Community from Oakland Mills MS to Owen Brown/Lake Elkhorn.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Between 1967 and 2013 a sparse array of Office Buildings and Housing Developments have popped up around the Mall. A lot of these Buildings face Columbia's Lakefront. The Lakefront is one of Columbia's best attributes with free concerts and moving screenings in the summer. These attractions have been great for long time Restaurants that face the lake as well. Although the Lakefront should be a huge draw and meeting place for Columbia Residents, it's decidedly
sparse unless there's an event going on.
To give Downtown Columbia the dense population it needs to thrive (living working and shopping) the Howard Hughes Corporation, a subsidiary of General Growth Properties, the company who purchased the Rouse Company developed a Master Plan for Downtown Columbia that includes 5500 new Housing Units, 1.25 Million Square Feet of Retail, 4.3 Million Square Feet of Office Space, and 640 Hotel Rooms. The planning for this Master Plan began as early as 2005 with community concerns regarding the affordability of Downtown, whether the crime rate will go up, whether the proposed Grocery Store will hurt efforts of luring a new one to Wilde Lake Village etc. Finally some parts of Downtown are taking shape.
There was once a sixth mini department store at the Mall; LL Bean. which has seen been demolished in favor of a Lifestyle Center that will eventually connect Wilde Lake to the Front Doors of the Mall as development continues. There are numerous businesses that have signed leases to be part of the new lifestyle center which opened to pedestrian traffic on November 1st but the first and only store to open as of yet is a bra shop.
The new entrance to the Mall created by this redevelopment is exactly opposite Lord & Taylor. This is a fact that I have kept in the forefront of my mind regarding a 24 hour cut through between the Warfield Neighborhood of Downtown and the Lakefront via another Lifestyle Center. What I would do with Lord & Taylor is up in the air but I think the area near the Merrill Lynch Building is grossly under utilized.
Opposite the new Lifestyle Center, the foundations are going up for what will eventually be "Metropolitan Downtown Columbia", a new community of 800+ ultra upscale Apartments built on two slabs of land into between Broken Land Parkway and Mall Ring Road. The plan is to have Twin Rivers Road cut across Broken Land Parkway to meet Mall Ring Road as an effort to connect Wilde Lake with Downtown and perhaps the Lakefront and perhaps even Oakland Mills.
One question that lingers is whether or not early Office Buildings of Downtown will remain as later phases of Downtown begin to come down the pipeline. Two buildings that come to mind are the American City Building and the Teacher's Building. There was also talk of demolishing the Howard Hughes Building designed by architect Frank Gehry but obviously that will not happen.
The beleaguered Howard Hughes building that once was headquarters to the Rouse Company is being renovated and expanded to accommodate a Whole Foods Market. CA is also building a Gym above the Whole Foods. This shows the truly upscale nature of Downtown Columbia given how expensive a trip to Whole Foods is. This will more than likely set a bench mark for the type of additional Retail that will come Downtown. Lakefront Restaurants like Clyde's, Tomato Palace, and Sushi Sono, should expect to see a spike in sales once Whole Foods is open.
Friday, August 16, 2013
In addition to the businesses who have departed, there are still tenants who have held tough through it all and are eagerly awaiting redevelopment; Anthony Richard Barber Shop, Wilde Lake Cleaners, Absolutely Wine & Spirits, Bagel Bin, Pizza Bolis, The Melting Pot, Wilde Lake Karate, Hunan Family, Achievers Hair Salon, The UPS Store, and finally the two known stores that will be housed in new buildings; David's and Today's Catch Seafood Market.
With most of the aforementioned businesses agreeing to stay on, this begs the question; Who should be joining them i.e. what businesses should to the Village Center? Whatever businesses they are they should be "draws", businesses that will draw people into the Center and patronize other businesses.
I had originally proposed (years ago) a Quiznos Sub Shop but given how many of them have closed in the past few years. Jimmy Johns, is opening lots of new restaurants in the area and I think a Wilde Lake location would be a great addition. Although not necessarily a draw, a Nail Salon would also be good given that it's a staple in most Village Center and Wilde Lake currently doesn't have one.
In the redevelopment plans there's a very small Retail space proposed in the middle of the Courtyard. This would be perfect for an Ice Cream Stand similar to Rita's or The Meadows Frozen Custard. Obviously neither of these would work at Wilde Lake given that they're at Harper's Choice and Hickory Ride respectively. Ice Cream stands are also draws. Along Lynx Lane there's a new space proposed for a Bank. Given that the Columbia Bank has left a new Bank for that space will have to be sought out.
Not included in the renovation plans are what is to be done with the old KFC space. I don't believe Kimco originally owned it but they're talking about leasing it out which makes me believe that they have either bought it or are taking over leasing duties on behalf of the owners. I personally think that building is outdated and will stick out like a sore thumb in the newly redeveloped Center. I believe it should demolished and replaced with a Sonic. There's one coming to Ellicott City and I think Wilde Lake should usher Sonic into Columbia. I had originally proposed it for Long Reach but I have other plans for it so Wilde Lake it is.