Well, its been a little while since we have heard “Columbia Association” and “Downtown Columbia” in the same breath. The City Fair is over and construction has started on the Plaza. I believe what CA could do to improve downtown Right Now is to start working on rehabilitating the pavilion that used to house outdoor Clydes. In my opinion, the continued abandonment of this prominent downtown structure is insane.
For those of us that are old enough to remember, eating and drinking under the pavilion was a great summer activity. High above the lake, looking out on the trees and ducks swimming below, fried zucchini in hand; life was good. It was always fun. If there was a summer concert or a movie playing at the amphitheater, diners could enjoy the music, and because the seating was behind the speakers, could also enjoy conversation.
Currently, outdoor dining at Clydes are at a few tables in a corner, between the people tree and the Teachers Building. Don’t get me wrong, dining under the people tree is a great idea, but to sit at a table that has a view of a pavilion that has a view of the lake seems to be beyond irony.
Why are there not tables under the pavilion? It is my understanding that the Howard County Health Department shut down outdoor dining under the pavilion because…there are not enough bathrooms. Come to think of it, how did we evolve into the second largest city in Maryland, and not ever think of putting public restrooms in downtown?
Most other cities of comparable size have ample public facilities in their downtown area (and many smaller cities provide this basic service too). The County has been successful at maintaining bathrooms at most of the larger parks, why couldn’t Columbia Association provide similar service in downtown. They do maintain public bathrooms at Lake Elkhorn.
Currently the only accommodation in downtown is the uh, “portable” convenience. I am certain that putting in public restrooms is not cheap, either from a construction or maintenance aspect, but I believe it is the type of “amenity” that many people would appreciate.
So I ask the CA Board to start moving on this. Refurbish the pavilion (and the boat docks below), put in the bathrooms, and bring back the fried zucchini.