River Hill pool and meeting center heads 1994-'95 projects

January 19, 1994|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

A $1.15 million swimming pool and meeting center for River Hill, Columbia's 10th and final village, tops the Columbia Association's list of proposed capital projects for West Columbia for 1994-'95.

The River Hill pool likely would be completed by the summer of 1995, assuming that the Columbia Council approves the project, said Dennis Mattey, the association's construction manager.

It would be built off Summer Sunrise Drive extended, north of the planned relocated Route 32 and west of Trotter Road.

The project, which also would provide meeting space for the River Hill Village Board and other groups in the developing community, is the largest single item in the council's proposed $5.8 million fiscal 1995 capital budget.

The association recently borrowed $10 million through a bond sale, with some proceeds earmarked for the River Hill pool.

The River Hill board now has meetings at members' houses or at community centers in other villages.

The council will sponsor a public hearing on the capital budget and the association's proposed $31.8 million operating budget at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Kahler Hall in the Harper's Choice Village Center. If necessary, a second hearing will take place Jan. 27 at the same time and location.

The council is scheduled to approve a spending plan, which will take effect May 1, on either Feb. 28 or March 1.

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

River Hill Village Board Chairwoman Kathy Ruben said the board will work to see that construction of the pool goes forward.

"Since we're so separated from the rest of Columbia, our duty as a village board is to make sure that stays in the budget or our residents would have to make a long hike [to pools in other villages]," Ms. Ruben said.

River Hill, which is west of the Middle Patuxent River and extends to Clarksville, has about 200 homes now, and is growing rapidly. The Rouse Co. plans to build about 2,300 housing units in the village.

"Given how quickly lots are selling, we'll have a good number of people in a short period of time," said David Berson, River Hill's council representative.

"Certainly in two years the population will be big enough to support a pool."

The council also has proposed allocating $965,000 for a pool for the developing Kendall Ridge neighborhood in Long Reach Village.

Columbia now has 21 outdoor neighborhood pools, which operate at an annual deficit. A citizens committee formed by the council has recommended ways to cut the deficit, including aggressively marketing memberships -- at least for lesser-used pools -- to non-Columbia residents and expanding food and beverage operations.

The association projects that operating costs for the pools will exceed income by $225,000 this year. Once debt for building the facilities and administrative expenses are included, the gap expands to an estimated $1.3 million.

Other capital projects proposed for West Columbia communities include:

* $98,000 for pathway construction in Hickory Ridge Village connecting Sebring and Martin roads and in the Clemens Crossing West open space area.

* $75,500 for planning the development of the open space lands and constructing pathways and two children's play areas in the Banneker Road area of Town Center.

* $32,000 for planning the development of open space lands, including four children's play areas, in the Pointers Run neighborhood of River Hill.

* $98,000 for structural improvements to the Harper's Farm Road pedestrian overpass.

* $45,000 for structural improvements to the Town Center Plaza, including replacement of the wood deck in the outdoor dining area.

$188,000 for Columbia Swim Center improvements, including $135,000 for a new de-humidification and heating system.

* $186,500 for Hobbit's Glen Golf Course improvements.

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