Yesterday, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman gave his annual State of the County speech. He talked about managing well, partnering well, and investing well – the “principles that have guided this administration from Day One.”
The two things that stood out to us were his comments on downtown (of course!):
I am extremely proud of the community effort that we went through for downtown Columbia. The master plan we passed last year embodies the vision and values of the community, respects our history and establishes downtown Columbia as a dynamic, attractive place to live, work and play.
And his emphasis on the impact from the coming expansions at Fort Meade (BRAC and Cyber Command):
… after talking about base realignment for years and seeing jobs trickle in, we’re now poised to see the flood of jobs we’ve heard so much about. Already, 500 positions have been moved on base, and by September, that number will grow to 5,800 -- over 5,000 new jobs in 9 months. That’s staggering.
And by the end of 2012, we are expecting an additional 15,000 private sector jobs to have accompanied this expansion….
Wow. There is no question: Columbia and Howard County will see some stunning changes in the next few years and decades. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: we can look at change as a problem or as an opportunity – but either way, it’s coming.
We choose to embrace change proactively, and we believe Columbia, with our tradition of “creative, forward thinking community planning,” is a great place to do that.
If you’re interested in more of what the county executive had to say, you can read the full text here or watch it on video on Comcast Ch. 99/Verizon Ch. 44:
January 25 – 7 p.m.
January 26 – 1:30 p.m.
January 27 – 11:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m.
January 28 – 1:30 p.m.
January 29 – 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.
January 30 – 1:30 p.m.
A Bright, Bright Future for Howard County: County Executive Ulman talks about the “transformative” changes coming to our area
The spotlight was on County Executive Ken Ulman on WBAL TV’s Sunday Q & A. Asked about the plan to redevelop Downtown (around minute 1:30), he hit the nail on the head: “We have a great downtown, a great mall, a lakefront, Merriweather Post Pavilion – but you can’t walk from one to another!” He went on to talk about the $26.5 million “rebuilding” of Merriweather “for the next generation.” (Hey, that’s us!!!)
Then, the question is posed: “You guys are on the cutting edge of the cyber security world out there. Are we going to see more jobs coming to Fort Meade because of this?” His response? “Absolutely.“
See the rest of his comments here, starting around minute 3:00, about the “transformative” impact of BRAC and Cyber Command on the region. Columbia and Howard County are perfectly located for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If we are going to capture that opportunity, we must start preparing.
There has been a lot of talk about last Tuesday’s election already, so we’ll spare you more analysis except to say that it was proof that our current leadership is leading us in the right direction, toward our shared vision of a vibrant, sustainable Columbia and Howard County.
We join New City Alliance in congratulating the Howard County Executive and Council on their victories and look forward to working with them as we all move Columbia forward.
Remember last Thursday? It was a beautiful day, with temperatures in the mid 50’s. We figured there would be plenty of people out during lunch, so we went to the lakefront to interview people for our next video. Except for a few high school kids skateboarding (it was a half day for them), nobody was there!
This is a light-hearted video, but it makes an important point. Last Thursday was just another day in the life of a dying suburb.
UPDATE: Take a walk Downtown with architect and urban planner Phil Engelke, as he talks about what Downtown might become.
We did it. The Planning Board accepted the video testimony on DVD and some members of the Board stated that they’ve watched the testimony online. Hopefully it will help them see the faces and hear the words of folks who haven’t been able to attend the hearings.
Lots of people testified, including me and Kevin Link of Columbia 2.0. Others from our group are scheduled to testify at the next hearing, which will likely be the last before the Planning Board makes its recommendation to the County Council/Zoning Board. That’s scheduled for Thursday March 5 at 7:00. WE STILL WANT PEOPLE FROM OUR GROUP TO TESTIFY IN PERSON, SO LET US KNOW IF YOU’RE READY TO STEP IT UP LIKE KEVIN DID LAST WEEK! Unfortunately, I’ll be watching the Bushy Park Elementary performance of Annie, Jr. that night!
If you haven’t seen the video testimony OR the videos explaining the plan, they are all still posted below!
The video testimony has been posted in the 3 windows below (we are limited to 8 minutes per clip, thus the 3 separate clips!). We’ve had several requests for another video opportunity, so we’re working on another date accommodate more of you who want to be heard but can’t get to the hearings. We’re hopeful that the Planning Board will recognize the importance of accepting this video testimony in order to make the process more inclusive to you.
We’ve even included the only person who came with an opposing view. But, it should highlight the obvious differences between who supports the plan and who does not.
Thursday Jan 22
Zapata’s (Harpers Choice Village Center)
5485 Harpers Farm Rd. 21044
Show your support for the county’s plan to redevelop downtown Columbia into the urban, vibrant and innovative COMPLETE CITY it was intended to be! Join us for food and networking - then drive right over to the the Planning Board hearing just around the corner at Wilde Lake HS. This is the first opportunity for citizens to speak out in support of the plan to the county’s Planning Board and numbers are important.
Just can’t attend the hearing? We’ll have a video booth set up at Zapata’s to record your testimony! Help show Howard County’s elected officials how important their approval of this plan is to us. After lots of long meetings, workshops and events, we’re in the playoffs now. We need to win Planning Board approval to move on in the process!
This event is open to anyone who wants to show their support!