CA Community Focus

January 16, 2018

CA Community Focus is a quarterly eNewsletter that highlights Columbia Association construction projects, community planning work, pending legislation related to planning and development in Columbia, information about CA’s open space areas, and Columbia Archives. Please share it with your friends and invite them to sign up to receive it.

In this edition:

  • CA Welcomes New Manager of Columbia Archives
  • Tree Survey at Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods
  • Excite Columbia, CA’s Citizen Academy, Returns in March
  • Potential Candidates for CA Board of Directors Invited to Information Sessions
  • Columbia Association Capital Improvement Highlights From 2017
  • Updates on Stream Restoration, Wilde Lake Dredging and Slayton House Plaza
  • Winter Safety Tips
  • Attention Dog Owners: A Cautionary Note With Snow/Ice Storms
  • Save the Date: Columbia Cleanup Day
  • Energy and Watershed Tips
  • Fishing in Columbia’s Lakes and Ponds
  • Upcoming Event: Columbia Solar Cooperative Information Session

CA Welcomes New Manager of Columbia Archives

Columbia Association (CA) is proud to welcome Lela J. Sewell-Williams as the new manager of Columbia Archives, the institution whose mission is collecting and preserving the history of Columbia.

“I’m looking forward to building on Columbia Archives’ legacy and expanding the program to be more accessible and engaging,” said Sewell-Williams. “We want the community to be as involved with Columbia Archives as those of us who work here.”

Sewell-Williams has worked for two decades as an archivist. She was the first archivist at South Carolina State University; a manuscripts librarian at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library; and the initiator and project archivist for The Schomburg Center’s Hip-Hop Archive Project.

While serving as the assistant curator of Manuscripts at Moorland Spingarn Research Center, Sewell-Williams developed an initiative with Howard University to collect the records of regional black dance companies. She also founded Preserve Your Story (an archival consulting firm) and is the archivist for the International Association of Blacks in Dance. Sewell-Williams is a Laurel resident, a wife, and the mother of two children.

Sewell-Williams will build on the work of her predecessor, Barbara Kellner, the longtime director who recently retired after more than three decades at its helm.

“Lela comes with a great background, an outgoing personality and an archivist’s curiosity to learn as much as she can about Columbia and the collection,” Kellner said. “I feel really confident that she and the Columbia Archives staff are going to make the archives an even greater and more important resource to the community than it has been.”

Tree Survey at Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods

Columbia Association will soon be surveying nearly every tree in Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods, noting their type, size and health.

This survey will help inform CA’s long-term management plan for Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods, including working alongside the Inner Arbor Trust (IAT) and It’s My Amphitheatre (IMA, which operates Merriweather Post Pavilion) on how best to host events within the park.

Excite Columbia, CA’s Citizen Academy, Returns in March

Get a closer look at Columbia Association this March in the “Excite Columbia” citizens academy.

The free three-week program will begin Tuesday, March 6 and conclude on Tuesday, March 20. Classes are held once each week from 6:30 to 8:45pm at CA Headquarters, 6310 Hillside Court.

Excite Columbia educates and informs residents with an in-depth view of how CA operates and serves the community through its many departments and programs. The citizens academy also provides a forum for CA and community members to interact and engage with one another — and an informal setting to talk about your vision for the future of Columbia.

Preregistration is required at excite.

Potential Candidates for CA Board of Directors Invited to Information Sessions

Columbia Association (CA) will host two information sessions in February for those who are considering serving the Columbia community by seeking an opportunity to become a member of CA’s Board of Directors.

The sessions will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 7pm and Saturday, Feb. 24 at 10am, both at CA Headquarters, 6310 Hillside Court, located off Stevens Forest Road and Broken Land Parkway.

CA’s Board of Directors has 11 members — one representative from each of Columbia’s 10 villages plus CA’s President/CEO. Representatives from the villages serve either a one- or two-year term, depending upon each village’s bylaws. In late April 2018, six villages will hold elections for their representative to the CA Board of Directors: Harper’s Choice, Hickory Ridge, Oakland Mills, Owen Brown, Town Center and Wilde Lake.

Pursuing election may not be a simple decision, and CA recognizes that potential candidates may have questions or need information before filing the necessary forms. Potential candidates are encouraged to attend and learn more about Columbia Association, the role of its board members and how service on the board impacts the community. The goal of the sessions is to have a conversation with residents, including addressing their questions about this opportunity so they can make an informed decision about seeking a seat on CA’s Board of Directors.

Columbia Association Capital Improvement Highlights From 2017

Last year was a busy, productive year for CA’s Capital Improvements Projects team. Highlights from 2017 include:

  • Installing the Bell Tree and famed carillon bells at Lake Kittamaqundi.
  • Installing the poster trees featuring Gail Holliday’s historic artwork at Lake Kittamaqundi.
  • Renovating 18,000 linear feet of pathway throughout the community.
  • Renovating three tot lots completely (Tree Top Circle, Iron Frame Way and Tamar Drive). Every tot lot has been visited by a certified inspector over the past 18 months, and nearly all have undergone improvements.
  • Renovating the rock wall at Lake Kittamaqundi.
  • Developing a placement site in Kings Contrivance for dredged sediment.
  • Replacing six pedestrian bridges.
  • Completing major repairs to the pedestrian overpass on Columbia Road.
  • Building and installing a new lattice bridge below the dam at Lake Elkhorn.
  • Undertaking significant construction on Long Reach Tennis Club (scheduled to open this spring).
  • Replacing lights along edge of Lake Kittamaqundi with more energy-efficient LED lighting.
  • Assisting the Downtown Columbia Partnership with holiday lighting.

Updates on Stream Restoration, Wilde Lake Dredging and Slayton House Plaza

2018 has started off busy as well!

CA, in partnership with the Howard County Government, is in the process of restoring a stream alongside Dobbin Road and Oakland Mills Road.

Dredging at Wilde Lake is nearing completion. CA will conduct a bathymetric survey to confirm whether any more dredging will be needed, then will work with contractors to remove the equipment and clean up the area. It is expected that the pathway section alongside the lake will reopen by the middle of February.

Work on the plaza outside of Slayton House in the Wilde Lake Village Center is expected to begin soon when the weather permits. Work will take about a week.

Winter Safety Tips

Columbia’s open space is here to be enjoyed year-round. The winter months bring different sets of natural beauty as well as conditions everyone should prepare for.

Please keep in mind:

  • Keep an eye out for other users.
  • Wear appropriate clothing.
  • Watch for and be prepared for winter weather conditions (snow and ice).
  • Do not walk or skate on the ice at the lakes or ponds.

If you happen to see anyone on an icy lake or pond, please contact CA’s Open Space Management office at 410-312-6330 (weekdays, 8am-5pm) or the Howard County Police Department.

Attention Dog Owners

When the weather brings snow or ice, CA uses snowplows and de-icers to maintain pathway accessibility. Since many of CA’s pathways are used by children to walk to school, CA applies road salt (sodium chloride) on sections of the pathways as needed, especially in sections that are heavily shaded or have steep slopes. Sodium chloride is effective in melting snow and ice and cost-effective in the quantities that CA must purchase it.

Please be mindful of this and consider avoiding pathways where there is visible salt — or carry your dogs, if necessary, in areas where there is salt remaining on the pathway, as sodium chloride can be harmful to pets when they attempt to lick it off of their paws.

Save the Date: Columbia Cleanup Day

Columbia can be even more beautiful — and the environment can be more healthy — after just three hours on Columbia Cleanup Day.

Columbia Cleanup Day will take place on Saturday, March 24 with volunteers simultaneously picking up trash that has accumulated at open space locations in all 10 villages.

Locations are in the process of being confirmed and will be posted in February at

This Issue’s Energy Tips: Saving Money While Keeping Warm

Heating accounts for the biggest portion of your utility bills. During winter, keep the curtains and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.

You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7-10 degrees for eight hours a day from where you would normally set. You can do this automatically by using a programmable thermostat and scheduling the times you turn on the heating or air conditioning.

Instead of turning the heat up on cold days, bundle up with cozy winter sweaters and warm socks. Adding rugs to hardwood floors provides insulation while keeping your feet warm and comfortable.

This Issue’s Watershed Tip: Pick Up After Your Pets

Please be sure to always properly dispose of your pet’s waste, whether in public or in your own yard. You wouldn’t let your pet potty in the bathtub, so please don’t let them contaminate our lakes! Pet waste is a large source of the bacteria that gets into our ponds and lakes. Nutrients from pet waste help feed harmful algae blooms in the ponds and lakes.

Fishing in Columbia’s Lakes and Ponds

CA welcomes you to enjoy our lakes and ponds through recreational fishing. However, we remind fishers:

  • No ice fishing is allowed.
  • Please pick up your trash; hooks and fishing line are not only displeasing to the eye but are harmful to the wildlife that live in and around the lakes and ponds.
  • Follow state fishing regulations.
  • Heed the special rules for where fishing is and is not allowed at Wilde Lake.

For more information, contact CA’s Open Space Management Division at 410-312-6330 or

Upcoming Event: Columbia Solar Cooperative Information Session

Learn how to save approximately 20% off the cost of solar panels for your home and enjoy the many benefits of going solar, including lower electricity bills and increased property value. The session will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 20 from 7-8pm at Owen Brown Community Center, 6800 Cradlerock Way.

Share this post