Columbia community geared to raising kids


June 18, 1995|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Sun Staff Writer

The quiet, burgeoning community called Kendall Ridge -- nestled in eastern Columbia -- is a magnet for homebuyers who desire a safe place to raise children. The growing community is filled with tot lots and bicycle and walkway paths and has easy access to good schools.

"I'm a stay-at-home mom. I like the fact that there are other children here," said 35-year-old Donna Woo, as she loaded her four children into her van one day so her oldest, Anna, who will be 6 at the end of this month, could make her ballet class on time. "I like the sense of family that's here."

She and her husband, Richard, an engineer, have lived in a well-kept townhouse in Kendall Ridge for five years. "We're busting out of that one," Mrs. Woo said, referring to her growing family.

Like the Woos, other Kendall Ridge couples say they are attracted to the neighborhood's sense of family.

The neighborhood has attractive contemporary detached one- and two-door garage single-family homes, townhouses and luxury apartments and condominiums. Currently, about 3,300 people live there, and the numbers continue to grow.

Forty-two homes were sold in Kendall Ridge during the last 12 months, according to the Howard County Association of Realtors, Inc. The average settlement price was $183,872.

Kendall Ridge, the final phase of the Village of Long Reach, Columbia's most populous, was first developed in the late 1970s as part of James W. Rouse's plans for Columbia, the town he built from scratch. Kendall Ridge was named after a family of settlers with the surname Kendall who came to the region in the early 1700s, said David Forester, the Rouse Co.'s senior development director.

"It wasn't developed with the rest [of Long Reach] because we had to wait till water lines went through," said Sarah Uphouse, Long Reach's village manager. "Once the water lines went through, they started to develop the remainder of Kendall Ridge" in the 1980s, called Kendall II.

The Columbia Association (CA), a private nonprofit group which imposes an annual fee on Columbia property owners to oversee recreational facilities, community services and parkland, is developing the last phase of Kendall Ridge called Kendall Ridge III. The final phase should be completed in 2 1/2 years.

The plan for Kendall Ridge included townhouses for moderate-income families, which dozens of residents fought unsuccessfully. They complained the units would adversely affect their property values and foster crime.

A much more welcome part of the project has been the long-awaited neighborhood swimming pool, which opened last month, and the Long Reach High School, which is scheduled to open in the fall next year.

It took 10 years for the community to finally get the 10-foot-deep outdoor pool, which is within walking distance of their homes.

Meanwhile, scaffolding and other signs of construction are conspicuous on Tamar Drive at the site of the planned 1,400-student high school. Other construction is visible along Snowden River Parkway where Ryland is building townhouses in the $120,000 range.

Once the construction is completed, Kendall Ridge will be home to about 6,100 people, Mr. Forester said.

Because it's rather new, many of the trees in Kendall Ridge aren't fully developed yet.

Located along Snowden River Parkway between Route 108 and Route 175, Kendall Ridge is one of the last regions for the Rouse Co. to develop in Columbia.

With nearby Interstate 95, Kendall Ridge is about 30 minutes away from Baltimore and Washingtaon, D.C.

"If you don't hit a traffic jam, you can be in downtown Baltimore in about 25 minutes," said Mrs. Uphouse, the village manager.

Mirroring the rest of Columbia, 30 percent of Kendall Ridge is open space. Its tot lots and extensive pathway systems used by walkers, joggers, and bicyclists, make it attractive.

But most of Kendall Ridge is residential.

"They've [the developers] tried to center all commercial entities in a village center itself, and the rest is housing," Mrs. Uphouse said. "So it isn't like Baltimore, where you have little neighborhood corner places."

Columbia has grown to 82,000 residents, a point that has some citizens trying to get it incorporated into a city.

"I feel that Columbia itself is a nice place to raise a family," Mrs. Uphouse said. "We deliberately chose to raise our family here. We've been here 20 years."

Kendall Ridge will be the most modern neighborhood in Long Reach when it's completed, Mrs. Uphouse said. It'll be the only Long Reach neighborhood with a high school.

For shopping, residents can walk or drive to the nearby Long Reach Village Center. Like Columbia's 10 villages, this center has a mixture of stores. There's a Safeway, Domino's Pizza, Subway, hair salon, cleaners, gas station and two banks, for example.

"The village has a lot to offer for all the growing population in Kendall Ridge and Long Reach Village Center," said Dave Smith, co-owner of the village center's Subway.

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