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.
November’s Annual Design Review edition of Architect Magazine devotes a page to Howard County, focusing on Columbia and Ellicott City. How exciting that our area is being recognized! Part of that recognition is no doubt due to the “upcoming opening of the U.S. Cyber Command at Fort Meade” bringing thousands and thousands of new government jobs, and all of the growth that flows from that.
The incoming federal workforce will require housing and amenities, while many companies that depend on cyber security will need to relocate or open satellite offices to be close to this defense epicenter. It’s almost impossible to measure the number of private-sector jobs that will follow the public ones, from high-tech support and ancillary industries to service and construction workers.
Time to start preparing, Howard County!
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.