During the next few weeks, the hot topic around the Columbia Association (CA) will be the review and consideration for action on plans for some of CA’s infrastructure, and what the infrastructure might look like in the future.
The primary plan that the CA Board will be considering is the Aquatics Master Plan. The essence of the plan is based on what CA will offer in terms of aquatics facilities to match the changing population and needs during the next decade (and probably beyond).
That seems to be a long way off, but consider that we’re already in the second decade of the new century.
An entity creates a plan so it can change course and act toward change, rather than react after the fact. The primary reason for the development of the Aquatics Master Plan is to put CA in a position to act on the many changes in age and other demographic trends developed by a lot of governmental and business planning groups.
Those apparent changes include the following.
• By 2030 to 2035, 85% of households will be childless.
• The peak in oil production could occur between 2012 and 2018.
• 1 in 5 people in the United States will be 65 years old or older (the median age of Columbia is 39.9 years right now).
• The baby boomer and the millennial generations will compose about 50% of the population, and neither generation wants the same housing choices that are predominant today. The aging boomers don’t want to own and maintain property, and are looking at other options, such as higher density condos and townhomes. The millennials don’t want to own property, as they want to have flexibility in where they live and where they work.
• Most of us are used to the term “nuclear” families, meaning father, mother and children. Today, according to a recent article in the Baltimore Sun, less than 10% of households in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., are considered nuclear families.
• Population pyramids that show various age cohorts used to be truly shaped like a pyramid, with higher numbers of people in the younger age categories and fewer people in the older age categories. In the coming planning period, the pyramid shape will change to a cylinder shape, meaning that the various age cohorts will be almost equal in population.
While these numbers might be sobering or even questionable to some people, they should give businesses and homeowners some reasons to think that the face of Columbia will continue to change.
The Aquatics Master Plan is intended as food for thought. CA is in no way saying that the changes proposed in the plan will take place in the next six months. Rather, the plan is an approach to the future.
In 35 years, if, and yes (I did say “if”), some of the change factors come to fruition, will CA still maintain 23 outdoor pools? Will the changing generations still want recreational facilities in the forms that CA offers today?
Time is limited to start the planning process. And remember, it takes an extended time to change the course of a company that is charged with adding value to life and property — no matter what the population looks like now or in the future.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at Phillip.Nelson@ColumbiaAssociation.org.