Tuesday, April 18, 2017
What About the Pools?
Yes, what about the Pools? One crucial part of the Columbia Experience is its outdoor pools. Not all pools are created equal as newer part of Columbia have newer Pools. Some older pools are showing age and need additional uses to get more visitors. Other Pools need to be modernized in order to make them equal to newer pools while other need to be replaced all together. In this post, I will identify which pools fall into which category and proposed expanded uses when needed.
First lets identify the "new" pools some of these may actually be older ones that have already been modernized. In addition to have the most up to date features, these pools are less likely to have competing pools nearby as well and are well attended. River Hill, Swansfield, Dickinson, Clary's Forest, Hawthorne, Kendall Ridge, Hopewell, and Dorsey Hall.
Next we have well attended pools that could stand to be modernized to keep their attendance high for generations to come. Pools like this can generally be found on the outer edges of Columbia and have little competition from other pools. To modernize these pools I would add features like mushroom waterfalls, water park features found at newer pools, volleyball courts, wave pool entries, snack bars, and renovated and expanded locker rooms. These pools include Stevens Forest, Thunder Hill, Huntington, MacGills Common, Dasher Green, Phelps Luck, Jeffers Hill, Clemens Crossing, and Longfellow.
Next we come to Pools that are very centrally located and as a result are in competition with other pools and in order to up their attendance, other options should be considered. Fortunately, I have evaluated these pools and I have come up with solutions for them.
Faulkner Ridge- This pool is sandwiched in between Bryant Woods and Longfellow and isn't as well attended as others. This area of Columbia also has a lot of Seniors in it. My solution would be to make Faulkner Ridge a "55 or better Pool." This will give Seniors an Outdoor Pool experience that haven't had yet. In addition, Residents of Senior Living Communities like Vantage House and Harmony Hall can be bused to this pool for so that Residents who no longer drive can use it.
Locust Park- There is a pool north, south, and east of this pool (Phelps Luck, Jeffers Hill, and Kendall Ridge respectively.) That alone makes Locust Park a candidate to be altered to up its attendance. That's why on the weekends, I would make Locust Park, Columbia's first "Night Pool." Night Pool is exactly what it sounds like. In an effort to attract more single Millennials to Columbia, I'm proposing having Locust Park Pool be closed during the day on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, but opening it at about 5 or 6 at night on Friday and Saturday nights until about midnight. This will be only for adults 18+ however Alcohol will NOT be served. During the week, Locust Park will be open normal hours for kids and adults of all ages.
Talbott Springs- Talbott Springs Pool always seemed to be off the beaten path to me. The more centrally located Stevens Forest Pool always appears to be busier and in some cases, could be closer for Talbott Springs Residents. This point has only been made stronger since 2013 when lots of Talbott Springs Residents were redistricted from their titular Elementary School to Stevens Forest. When the new Roger Carter Community Center opened in Ellicott City, it now features a new pool with a retractable roof for year round use. I would build this apparatus at Talbott Springs to allow for year round use and inclement weather use.
Next we come to the Pools that need to be replaced. This has nothing to do with the condition and or attendance levels at these two pools however their adjacent Elementary Schools should eventually be replaced with larger buildings and moving the Pools will up the acreage for the Elementary School Sites. These pools/Elementary Schools are Bryant Woods and Running Brook. This is not surprising since these schools are taking the majority of Downtown Columbia. I would move the Running Brook across the parking as well as the Neighborhood Center adjacent to the telephone building. Due to Resident outcry, I would not build a new 7-11. Bryant Woods Pool I would move in between the Lornwood Daycare Center and Morning Wind Lane. New pools and new Schools will definitely be beneficial to both Bryant Woods and Running Brook.
The only pool I have yet to mention in this post is Hobbit's Glen. Hobbit's Glen is off the beaten path and is considerably smaller than other outdoor pools. I would have it modernized like many other pools in Columbia and I would try to make it a back up Pool for ones that become over-crowded very quickly. Some Residents have wanted a second Pool for River Hill but since Hobbit's Glen is close to River Hill, I would send extra visitors to Hobbit's to up its attendance. I would however bank a site in River Hill's Pheasant Ridge Neighborhood for future use.
As the title says, What About the Pools? They can be easy to overlook as compared to other amenities of Columbia but the state of the Pools, like any amenity large or small, can't be overlooked and must evolve and change with the rest of Columbia.