Community activist to manage River Hill Final village being developed by Rouse Co. WEST COLUMBIA

September 01, 1993|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

Longtime Columbia activist Sunny McGuinn has been appointed the first manager for the developing Village of River Hill, though the village won't have its own community center to manage for several years.

River Hill is the 10th and final village being developed for Columbia by the Rouse Co., which has been planning and building the city for the last 30 years.

Columbia's nine other villages have managers who run community centers, plan events and programs, and act as liaison between residents and government agencies.

River Hill, which has about 150 to 200 homes, is slated to have nearly 1,700 units by 1999. As it grows, a shopping center and community facilities will be added.

"I'm really excited about it. It's something I've wanted for a long time," said Ms. McGuinn, 41, a Columbia resident since 1975, who starts as part-time manager for River Hill village shortly after Labor Day.

"I can't wait to talk to all the residents of River Hill. . . . I'm there for them," she said.

Among her first tasks will be to work with the Columbia Association and the River Hill village board to find office space so residents can contact her for information.

A part-time staff assistant for the Village of Owen Brown, who leaves that job tomorrow, Ms. McGuinn served for four years as chairwoman of the Kings Contrivance village board during eight years as an elected member.

She is described by those she has worked with as enthusiastic, a strong supporter of Columbia's ideals, optimistic and people-oriented.

"Her name describes her," Owen Brown village manager Ruth Bohse said of Sunny McGuinn.

As a member of the Kings Contrivance village board, Ms. McGuinn helped work out problems for upset residents, said Gloria Greene, a fellow board member for four years.

"She had a knack of saying the right words, with the right intonation with a wonderful smile to make people feel more comfortable," Ms.

Greene said.

"The reason I ran for the village board was Sunny McGuinn. She made it seem like fun with her enthusiasm and excitement."

And Kathy Ruben, chairwoman of the River Hill village board, said the board selected Ms. McGuinn because of her background in community organizations.

"She's a very people-type of person and very active in Howard County and Columbia," Ms. Ruben said.

"She's been a catalyst for a lot of things. That was important to us. We wanted someone who could start things up."

Ms. McGuinn said she envisions keeping residents informed about development plans, including the neighborhood pool, and eventually working on traffic and safety issues.

Similar growth-related issues came up in Kings Contrivance while she was on that village's board from 1984 to 1992, she said.

In addition to her village involvements, Ms. McGuinn served on the board of directors for the Columbia Forum, a volunteer group dedicated to improving life in Columbia. She worked on the Forum's "welcoming initiative," which designed an information packet about Columbia for new residents.

Ms. McGuinn said what she likes most about Columbia is its "sense of neighborhoods."

"We've always been involved," she said of her husband, John, and sons James, Sean and Colin.

"I have a deep commitment to helping out in the community and making people feel good about their neighborhoods."

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