27 August 2007

A suggestion for the Wilde Lake Village Center

The front page story from the August 23, 2007 Columbia FlierMarket forces buffet Wilde Lake” has been bothering me. The Wilde Lake Village Board Chair Vince Marando is quoted extensively:

Vincent Marando wants a grocery store to open in the Wilde Lake Village Center as much as everyone else, he says.

But while several business owners are desperate for a new market to open as soon as possible, Marando, the chairman of the village board, thinks a new market should wait until the grocery store and retail picture in Columbia comes more into focus.

[W]e're trying to understand and speak to what we believe is best for the village," Marando said. "The situation is dire."

[M]arando said village officials and residents should wait until after September to decide how to proceed. Right now they have been very quiet, he said.

"We're all in agreement that the grocery store is still a priority," Marando said. "We are slowing down to advocate and agitate the process."

Marando said he plans to discuss the potential changes to retail in the region with residents at upcoming community meetings. The next meeting is on Sept. 4.

Now, I have known Vince for years and I have to think he has been misquoted in this article. Clearly, the sooner a supermarket is brought to the Wilde Lake Village Center, the better for the residents and retailers. But the arrival of a new grocer must be done with the realization of what is going on in downtown Columbia and the coming of Wegmans. It seems the first point was not brought across in the article, but the second was emphasized.

One suggestion I would like to make at this time is for the Wilde Lake Village Board to advocate for better signs pointing the way to the Wilde Lake Village Center. I did a quick survey of Columbia Village Centers and found numerous signs pointing the way to the Harpers Choice (Blue), Owen Brown (Green) and Oakland Mills (Red) Village Centers. Currently, there are no signs pointing the way to the Wilde Lake Village Center.

View Larger Map

I encourage all to zoom in, click on the placefinders, look at the pictures, and explore. If I have missed any other village center signs, please let me know (comment or email) and I will update the map.

If we can get a few of these signs for the Wilde Lake Village Center, we may be able to generate a bit more traffic at the center. It will also aid people trying to find the new supermarket when it does arrive.

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