New pool included in budget

January 11, 1994|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

Kendall Ridge neighborhood residents finally are feeling more a part of Columbia, says community activist Beverly Riling, now that the Columbia Council included $965,000 in next year's proposed budget for a long-awaited community swimming pool.

"We're excited, we're thrilled. We can't wait to see our new pool," says Ms. Riling, who helped lead a campaign dating to the mid-1980s to bring the developing community in Long Reach village an amenity that has been provided to nearly all other Columbia neighborhoods.

"We've known all along what our Columbia Association [assessment] money goes for, but it's always nice to see something in your neighborhood that makes it feel and look more like Columbia," she says.

The Kendall Ridge pool is the largest project for east Columbia in the Columbia Association's $5.8 million capital budget for 1994-1995, which takes effect May 1. The council will vote on the budget Feb. 28 or March 1.

Kendall Ridge could nearly double its current population of about 3,300 under the Rouse Co.'s proposed development plans. Residents say they had been told when they moved to Kendall Ridge that a pool would be constructed for the community.

They became discouraged as the project lingered on the council's back burner for several years and organized annual campaigns for a pool during budget negotiations.

Last year, the council reversed an earlier position to include $75,000 in planning money for the pool, which would be built at the future neighborhood center site at Tamar Drive and Old Montgomery Road.

The council is the board of directors for the association, which manages the unincorporated community's recreational facilities, civic programs and open space areas.

Another significant project would be the replacement of the Columbia Ice Rink's 23-year-old refrigeration unit -- the most important piece of equipment in the rink's operations -- at a cost of $210,000. The unit, which makes and maintains the ice, is something of a dinosaur in the industry, says Robert Goldman, Columbia Association director of membership services.

Replacement parts are hard to find for the unit, which needs frequent repairs and requires an expensive maintenance contract, Mr. Goldman says. Also, newer units use refrigerants that are more acceptable environmentally, he says.

"This will make the operation much more efficient after the capital expense," Mr. Goldman says.

Bob Eckhoff, general manager of the rink, says ideally the new unit would provide better climate control year-around, allowing for additional uses, such as roller hockey in the summer.

The rink, which opened around 1970 and is one of Columbia's oldest facilities, attracts about 6,000 to 8,000 skaters weekly, in addition to hockey leagues.

Other proposed east Columbia projects include:

* $263,000 for improvements to the Supreme Sports Club, including $70,000 for new weightlifting and exercise equipment and $100,000 to expand parking by 22 spaces.

* $90,000 for improvements to the Lake Elkhorn boat dock parking lot, including paving, lighting and landscaping.

* $68,000 to construct 4,000 linear feet of pathways in the Huntington neighborhood of Kings Contrivance village.

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