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From The Desk Of CA President Milton Matthews

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I know that I’ve used this space before to talk about redevelopment in Columbia, but the latest developments should have everyone excited about what’s happening.

We see Downtown Columbia as being a destination for individuals throughout the Baltimore and Washington metropolitan areas — and not just for Merriweather Post Pavilion and The Mall in Columbia. There will be many destination points in the downtown area, so that individuals who may be coming to visit one venue will also visit the others.

Two of the most visible projects are the work being done at the Little Patuxent Square mixed-use development, off Wincopin Circle, which is expected to open this year, and the construction in the Crescent neighborhood on the corner of Little Patuxent Parkway and Broken Land Parkway. There, the mixed-use development, with office and retail space, is also scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016.

Also slated to be done this year is the Chrysalis, the amphitheater that will be the first new amenity within Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods. It’s My Amphitheater (which operates Merriweather Post Pavilion) has signed an agreement with the Inner Arbor Trust to stage some concerts at the Chrysalis as a complement to some of the events planned at Merriweather.

At Merriweather Post Pavilion, the famed venue is undergoing some major renovations, including a new roof with a higher elevation. The pavilion, like much of the Columbia community, has been around for approximately 50 years. What is happening there modernizes the venue while retaining the beautiful natural surroundings and the features that make it such a popular destination for musical acts and concert-goers.

The naming of Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods reflects the plan to combine the concert venue and the land surrounding it into one large urban park setting. The park will complement the redevelopment and revitalization that’s happening now in Downtown Columbia and will continue into the future.

I’ve said before that I believe the redevelopment happening downtown will also spur redevelopment in other parts of Columbia.

Long Reach Village Center is being reimagined. We’re seeing the continued redevelopment in Wilde Lake Village Center, where sections of the shopping center have reopened and a new residential building is now under construction. Howard County Government and Columbia Association are working together to start the process of looking at options for Oakland Mills Village Center. And Kimco recently held an initial public meeting to start the process of redeveloping Hickory Ridge Village Center.

Beyond the village centers, the Howard County Economic Development Authority has held discussions focusing on the future redevelopment of the Columbia Gateway Office Park area.

Columbia was ahead of its time when it was founded and became the model for planned communities around this country, and it has been a great first five decades. The efforts being put forth now will help it continue to get even better with age.

E-mail milton.matthews@columbiaassociation.org with questions/comments.