Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Is David's An Anchor?

The Sun says the natural food emporium is interested, and its had a successful run in Wilde Lake. HoCo Exec Ken Ulman discusses vague plans to create new zoning laws to help village centers and urges folks to give him a jingle. Hometown Columbia says in her blog a new paradigm is needed.

There's obviously a lot of shopping energy in Columbia, just not in the village centers. Instead of forcing something that is not to be what else could that property be used for? Are grocery stores and nondescript office buildings the only option? In other words, is anything better than nothing, or does there need to be a whole plan and community buy-in for how stuff is to be sustained?

This is a little simplistic but...Back in the day we lived in Alexandria about the time the community decided to turn an old abandoned torpedo factory into an art center. Downtown Alexandria was pretty gritty in those days, not exactly a safe place at night. But after much discussion, endless discussion, among many different parties, the center opened, which in turn gave a shot in the arm to nearby restaurants, which inspired new galleries, which fed further waterfront development, and suddenly you had a boom.

So, and we are just musing here, not making a suggestion...what if CA, the county and a developer team up to build a first class, Olympic quality swim, tennis and track complex with shops to complement? Or the ice rink was dramatically expanded, and indoor soccer and basketball courts added. Would that be something families would rally around, and keep coming to?

We recall a comment by Barbara Russell, musing about why more people come out to CA meetings talk about a proposal to eliminate towels at the athletic club than engage in more substantive discussions. Maybe they want more towels.


jan deboissiere said...

Lovely idea!

Jan DeBoissiere
Clemens Crossing neighborhood and parent of two swimmers

DG said...

I agree! CA and the county -- and possibly Kimco & other partners -- definitely need to explore the possibility of bringing a redesigned REC Center to Wilde Lake, given its prime, central location. Raze both Slayton House and the Swim Center (in different phases) -- and combine their footprint -- and build UP, putting new tanks (pools) on the bottom floor, with other amenities (indoor track, exercise room, meeting rooms, auditorium, etc.) on floor(s) ABOVE the tanks. We need a full service aquatic center -- with an Olympic size pool, a leisure pool and a therapy pool. Such a facility would draw many within and outside the county to WLVC -- and breathe new life into it! I'm sure the merchants would love athletic patrons ... it would spur new merchants ... maybe Feet First could expand to include swimwear & accessories.