Wilde Lake village needs volunteers to spruce up the community and assist elderly and low-income residents with minor home repairs and maintenance.
The village is working with the Columbia Association's Volunteer Corps on the Neighborhood Renaissance Program, which also is aimed at helping qualified Wilde Lake residents comply with the village's property maintenance covenants.
"The aim is to help stem the aging of Columbia," said Bernice Kish, village manager of Columbia's oldest community. "Some in the village are getting elderly. They find it difficult to take care of some things. It's a real neighbor-to-neighbor approach to help people out."
Volunteers, who must be Wilde Lake residents, will do yard work and other exterior fix-up projects such as painting and gutter and lamp post repairs. They could also organize cleanup and maintenance projects for open space areas owned by the Columbia Association. The nonprofit association maintains those areas, but residents could perform certain tasks to reduce the heavy burden on association crews, Ms. Kish said.
Residents often make jobs more difficult for the Columbia Association's maintenance crews by dumping grass clippings and other yard waste in open-space areas, she said.
Karen Wallace, Wilde Lake's Architectural Committee chairwoman, said the idea for the program grew out of the committee's discussions of "problem properties" and how the village could help residents who were unable physically or financially to make repairs.
The program will provide an outlet for those who want to become more involved in the community, said Ms. Wallace, the volunteer coordinator.
"A lot of people, especially our longtime residents, want to do something meaningful," Ms. Wallace said.
Volunteers must be Wilde Lake residents because nonresidents would not be covered under the village association's insurance policy.
The pilot program in Wilde Lake will help determine whether the concept should be spread to other Columbia villages, said Sandra Fields, who directs the Volunteer Corps.
"Some of the other village managers already expressed an interest," Ms. Fields said.
Young people could become involved in open-space projects, she said.
Villages routinely organize cleanups and plantings for certain open-space areas, such as Lake Elkhorn and Wilde Lake.
"Neighborhoods might as well take care of that," she said. "It's about caring about where you live and taking care of it aesthetically."
Ms. Fields said her office hasn't had any volunteers yet for the program, which has been advertised recently.
The Wilde Lake office hasn't identified any properties for the program yet.
Fran Linfield, the village's covenant adviser, could inform certain residents whose properties are in need of maintenance about the program, Ms. Wallace said.
"People could apply if they wish to," Ms. Wallace said.
Ms. Kish added that residents could identify neighbors they'd like to help through the program. The association would pick up some costs for supplies if necessary, she said.
Wilde Lake officials are working with Wilde Lake High School administrators to allow students to receive credit toward the state-mandated community service requirement through participation in the Neighborhood Renaissance Program.
For information about the program, call Ms. Fields at 410-715-3163.