Columbia Council town meeting tonight on recreational facility $6 million center proposed for River Hill village

September 10, 1996|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,SUN STAFF

The Columbia Council is sponsoring a town meeting tonight to hear what residents have to say about the proposed $6 million recreation facility in the town's last village in west Columbia -- a facility that has been a source of some controversy.

Columbia Association (CA) representatives will answer questions about the proposed recreation facility, which is to be in River Hill village, at 7: 30 p.m. at the Owen Brown Neighborhood Center on Cradlerock Way in Columbia's Owen Brown village.

The CA representatives attending will be Rob Goldman, who manages recreation facilities for CA; Donna DuPree, director of marketing; and Bob Bellamy, director of club operations.

"A lot of people have a lot of questions about the facility," Goldman said. "It's a large expenditure."

Wanda Hurt, the Owen Brown Columbia Council representative, who volunteered to have the town meeting in her east Columbia village, said, "If [residents] are concerned about it, they should be there."

The CA, the homeowners association that manages the town's parklands and recreation facilities, wants to build the $6 million facility in River Hill. The proposed three-story, 55,000 square-foot facility would contain a pool, Nautilus weight machines, aerobics room and more -- probably easing crowding at Columbia's two athletic clubs.

The CA's board of directors, the Columbia Council, has approved planning funds for the facility. The council will vote on construction funds for the project early next year.

The west Columbia center has caused some concerns. Opponents have questioned why the homeowners group should go further into debt for the project and has charged that the CA is building the facility to serve non-Columbia residents in the fast-growing western part of the county.

Goldman said the CA will hold a name-the-facility contest for its permanent name.

Hurt said she has not decided whether to support the facility, adding that she plans to listen to village residents before making her decision.

She also has gone door-to-door with an informal survey that asks whether residents are familiar with the facility and whether they are for it.

Hurt said she has talked to at least 20 people in her community and that a majority seem to support it.

Pub Date: 9/10/96

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