Tot-lot fence design revision OK'd


The Columbia Association board of directors has approved a revision of a design for fencing around the Lake Elkhorn tot lot where a 23-month-old Laurel boy wandered away and drowned in September.

The design concept would include two gate entry points, allowing access from a nearby parking lot or Cradlerock Way.

The fence design proposal -- one from a list of seven plans -- was given a motion for approval by Patrick von Schlag, board member for River Hill, during a meeting this month.

During the May 11 board meeting, von Schlag said the board should vote to have only one access gate, a response to residents' demands to make the playground secure.

But during Thursday's meeting, board members said the one entry point could cause problems with access and safety.

The board is scheduled to approve a design concept at a June 8 meeting.

In September, Alex Ferrera drowned after wandering from the playground and into Lake Elkhorn. Concerned parents later pleaded with the board to consider fencing the tot lot. The playground is surrounded by a slope that leads to the lake, Cradlerock Way and a line of trees.

Chick Rhodehamel, Columbia Association vice president for open-space management, will attend a public discussion June 6 in Owen Brown to discuss options for a buffer for the tot lot.

The board's approved design concept has to be approved by the Owen Brown architectural committee.

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