Wilde Lake residents' needs being dismissed

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 17, 2008

In March, Kimco Reality Corp. announced a plan to raze and rebuild much of the Wilde Lake Village Center, adding 500 apartments. The Village Board, residents, and other interested parties expressed many concerns.

On Aug. 4, Kimco presented the same plan at a Village Board meeting and received many of the same objections. The plan is based on demolishing the present commercial buildings. This would displace the present tenants and jeopardize their livelihoods.

The needs of the local residents are being dismissed. Convenient shopping, especially for the car-less, has diminished since the closing of the Giant store and Produce Galore. Great Clips has moved, and [that] may be attributed to the reduction in shoppers in the village. Traffic problems in the area are of great concern, considering the addition of 500 residential units, and the reduction of space for retail and service enterprise. Goods and services will have to found outside the village.

Wilde Lake Village Center needs revitalization now. The plan that has been offered would not come into being until 2010. Present tenants may decide they can no longer stay in Wilde Lake because of the decrease in patrons. New tenants cannot be attracted to the center because of the retail area's uncertain future.

The Kimco plan is 20th-century auto-centric chic, and is not innovative. The Columbia vision of a people-oriented, walkable, livable community predicted the New Urbanism concept. Wilde Lake can move forward in the 21st-century with innovative adaptations of the Columbia vision.

Kimco is requesting a zoning change to implement its unpopular plan. Howard County should issue an unequivocal, unambiguous "NO!" to this proposal.

Howard County Executive Kenneth Ulman and the Wilde Lake representative on the County Council, Mary Kay Sigaty, have not shown leadership in supporting the Village Board in opposing this plan. Contact them and inform them that the Kimco plan does not reflect the concerns of the residents and merchants of Wilde Lake.

Joyce Baer

Columbia

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