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Sunday, November 23, 2014

The role of libraries in a changing world

  As a long time supporter of our HoCo Library I have blogged often on how our Library is expanding the concept of what a library is all about in our digital world.  I recently read a report from the Aspen Institute that discussed this new role in a comprehensive manner.  Here is a short summary of what the report discussed:

    "Public libraries are poised to play a leading role in helping individuals and communities adapt to this changing world. Many libraries already are linking individuals to information and learning opportunities, driving development and innovation, and serving as community connectors. With nearly 9,000 public library systems and 17,000 library branches and outlets across the country, there is already a significant physical presence and infrastructure to leverage for long-term success. Enabling all libraries to fulfill their new roles will require library leaders, policy makers and community stakeholders to re-envision the public library and take advantage of the opportunities it offers."

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Ribbon cutting on the Kittamaqundi path

    Yesterday the newly completed 1.5 mile path around Lake Kittamaqundi was officially opened. The path now gives us a chance to see some of the wildlife that inhabit the far side of the Lake.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Columbia Association progress on paths

     With today's (Friday, November 21) ceremonial ribbon cutting of the completion of the path around Lake Kittamaqundi at 1 pm to at the new bridge CA adds another link in our community path system.  All of Columbia's lakes now allow users a path to circumnavigate each lake.  CA's notice on the event explains:
     "The ceremony will be held on the northwest side of the lake at a new bridge and boardwalk that brings pedestrians and bicyclists over a wetlands area. The quickest route there from the Downtown Columbia Lakefront is to take the pathway outside of Sushi Sono and walk north. For those who may need assistance to get to the ceremony from the lakefront area, CA also will be providing golf cart shuttles to the site that will leave from near Sushi Sono starting around 12:45 p.m."

   Yesterday saw the Planning Board hearing on construction of a 10 ft wide path connecting the path over 29 to the Blandair Park.  The 10 ft wide paths are CA's plan to make high usage paths more user friendly to both walkers and bikers.

    The additional signage on the path system to direct users to the lakes is a nice navigational tool to encourage users to explore the lakes.

   Yesterday on a walk across the pedestrian bridge over Route 29 I stopped to watch the work on adding an additional northbound lane on 29.  I couldn't help but wonder how nice it would be to have a 10 wide bike lane down the middle of the median of Route 29.  When the Rouse Company planned a new larger Route 29 and a Route 175 to be the main north/south and east/west roads for the new town the planning unfortunately didn't include bike transportation on these new roads.   As I have blogged before (sorry to be so repetitive) for bikes to be a real method of commuting the routes like 29 and 175 (and maybe 108) need to have some thought given on how bikers could safely utilize these direct routes to commute. 


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Suggested book to read

     A couple of week's ago I had a chance to catch up with Wes Moore at the Howard Community College.  I had the opportunity to meet Wes a few times in Baltimore a few years ago in some work both of us were involved with. Wes has one of those inspiring life stories that inspires anyone who listens to one of his presentations.  Growing up in Baltimore Wes could have followed many paths in his life but was fortunate to have a Mother that recognized his potential and channeled him in positive ways.  Another young man growing up in the same neighborhood with the same name followed a different path and had a very different outcome.  The story of both is told in the book "The Other Wes Moore."  Since Wes is the author of the book most people assume that the other Wes Moore is the one who is now in prison.  The message that Wes has is how fine the line is from his story to the one of the other Wes Moore.  I recommend the book to see the Baltimore story shown in the "The Wire" and "The Corner" from an up close and personal perspective.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Planning Board considers Inner Arbor Plan


    This Thursday November 20th at 7 p.m. the Howard County Planning Board will continue to hear residents comments on the proposed Inner Arbor Plan.  This is a continuation of the hearings they held two weeks ago.  The number of residents wanting to comment was so large that they decided to postpone any decisions until they heard all the comments in this additional meeting.
   According to a report in the Baltimore Sun:

    "The plan will be developed in seven phases. The first phase of the development, which is funded by a county grant of $1.6 million, will build an outdoor amphitheater, called the Chrysalis, east of the concert venue. It is envisioned that the shell-shaped amphitheater, which will be made out of a lightweight fiberglass, will be used by both Merriweather operators and the Trust.

    The second phase includes building a pathway and elevated boardwalk over a natural stream bed and swale from the corner of Little Patuxent Parkway and South Entrance Road to the Chrysalis. That phase requires extensive stream restoration, which costs approximately $500,000. McCall said the Trust plans to develop the first two phases in tandem.

     Future phases, which could take between one to two years each to complete, include a glass and mirrored guest services building called the Butterfly; a children's playground inspired by circles, called the Merriground; a 300-foot-long floating seating area called the Picnic Table; and the Caterpillar, an 800-foot-long, 15-foot high tube -– which will be landscaped with potted plants and green artificial turf –- dividing the park and the concert venue.

    It also includes creating a new access point and parking for the park called "Free To Be Drive," which is phase seven and likely will be the last development."

    The development of the Inner Arbor plan has been a long awaited addition to Town Center to increase the utilization of Symphony Woods by the community.  The development has not been without controversy with the original plan developed by Cy Paumier being substantially altered in the new plan.  For a good summary of this controversy a link to Frank Hecker's blog is the best one I have read.