Monday, July 7, 2008

Oakland Mills Village Center

The County has come up with a Master Plan for Oakland Mills Village Center but I'm coming out with my own. It mimics the County's in many ways but mine goes way more in depth. The County touches on community issues that weren't yet discussed in previous Columbia/Howard County politics. This post is dedicated to strictly the Village Center and I will do another one that touches on those other things although I might brush upon them here.My plan would include the extension of Thunderhill Road through the Village Center to meet Stevens Forest Road. In order to make that happen the Interfaith Center would have to be redeveloped, something their master plan does not talk about. It talks about a serenity garden on Santiago Road and my plan includes it.
Speaking of Stevens Forest Road it will receive streetscape enhancements including a landscaped median and additional lighting.
The Stevens Forest Professional Center is outdated and blighted. It will be redeveloped to mimic the planned development at the former Exxon Station.
The Columbia Ice Rink's functional life span has also come to an end. Redevelopment rather than mere facade improvements would be crucial to its future success. An outdoor Ice Rink proposed in the Master Plan has a space in my plan as well.Now on to the retail component. First and foremost the Food Lion would be converted into a "Bloom." Bloom is Food Lion's upscale component that will fit into my Master Plan for Oakland Mills as a whole and the evolution of Grocery Stores in Columbia and beyond.To the right of the new Bloom which is vacant would be a Starbucks Coffee.
Now the long standing independent merchants deserve a big round of applause for whethering the storm without an anchor not once but twice. The building that most recently occupied "Fire Rock" and will eventually house "Second Chance Saloon" will be torn down and the plaza with the existing merchants would be expanded. New merchants will include a Nail Salon, Coldstone Creamery, FedEx Kinkos, and a new location for the Police Satellite Office.
The Second Chance Saloon will be located where the present Bankok Garden is. They will probably close soon because they get virtually no business. That building will be torn down and the Second Chance Saloon will have first chance at occupying its new building.
The long vacant bank building will also be torn down and will be the location for the new Sams Mart. Sam's Mart, in addition to being a convenience store will house a BP Gas Station with a Carwash, a Boardwalk Fries and a Krispy Kreme Donuts.The current Sam's Mart Building will be torn down and an Outback Steakhouse will go in its place.To the left of Outback there is land available from a put put course that closed decades ago on this land will be home to the area's first "Bonefish" a Seafood Restaurant that's owned by the same company as Outback and the two are usually located next to each other as will be the case in Oakland Mills.
Now the new office building on the site of the former Exxon Station will have ground floor retail. Four spaces to be exact, they will include a full serviced upscale Salon and Day Spa that will occupy two spaces. The other two will be occupied by a Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy and an African Hair Braiding Salon.
There are some who say the struggles of Oakland Mills Village Center began when the Camelback Lane entrance/exit to Route 29 was closed during the Broken Land Parkway Interchange. As a way to link Oakland Mills Village Center to Route 29 and Columbia Town Center I'm proposing to reopen that interchange and have a bridge connect it to South Entrance Road on the other side of Route 29. Route 29 will have signage pointing traffic to Oakland Mills Village Center, something it currently lacks. The new interchange will have ramps to all directions on Route 29 and South Entrance Road and River Meadows Drive which connects Camelback Lane to the Village Center.

Well that's my ambitious plan for Oakland Mills Village Center. Stay tuned for my Oakland Mills redevelopment plan which will warrant some of these new upscale businesses.


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Karen Gray said...

Interesting ideas. You should join us on the OMVC Master Plan Committee. We are the residents that put together the master plan for OM and we could use some young, creative people. Next meeting is Wed, July 16, at 7:00PM in The Other Barn.

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