06 March 2008
The CA Board of Directors recently approved the budget for 2008/2009 fiscal year. One of the casualties of the budget was the axing of funds to address maintenance and structural problems along the Kittamaquandi Lakefront. This budget item was removed over the protestation of the CA Open Space Division. Now, I understand that members of the highly influential Alliance for a Better Columbia (ABC) have been wailing for years that the CA Board should not give much weight to CA Staff requests, so I took some time the other day to assess the material condition of the lakefront.
One of the first things I noticed were the pylons at the Town Center Boat Docks and along the warf to the bell tower. Long ago, these pylons were decorated with vertical strips of wood (balusters). Today, not a single pylon has all of the wood intact.
Here is a picture of one that is nearly intact:
In addition, many of the pylons have a substantial coating of green mildew on the north side:
There are also several pylons that have the tops bored out:
On a related note, some of the lights attached to the pylons are in disrepair (safety issue?):
Over at the boat docks, mildew has become a prominent feature:
And it appears that this mud has been around long enough to allow for some of the dock to be reclaimed by nature:
Over at the bell tower (which, by the way, when I have the occasion to watch Baltimore TV news, I love the shot of the bell tower and the lakefront during the opening), this ramp looked a little odd to me:
Upon closer inspection (another safety issue?):
Moving on to the bell tower, I took a look at the wooden cross bracing, and found this:
It appears to me that the only thing that is holding this bracing to the tower is paint and hope. I would think that with no money for repairs in the budget for the next two years, there may (and hey, I have not run the wind loading numbers here, but really, look at the pictures) be a good chance that this thing could fall over within the next two years. And wouldn't THAT look good on the Baltimore evening news.
The Howard County Framework document calls the Kittamaquandi Lakefront “the heart of downtown Columbia,” and in my opinion, it is our front porch. It is along these lakefront promenades that Presidential Cabinet Secretaries and Royalty once strolled. Today, it is in a sad state of disrepair, has some serious safety issues associated with it, and has one of our landmarks in danger of falling into the lake. I think it is time for the CA Board of Directors to come down from their ivory tower of a board room and listen to their staff. There is a real need for corrective maintenance and repair now. I think the board should listen to Evan Coren (KC) who stated at a recent board meeting (paraphrasing here) “this isn’t the same thing as providing towels at the athletic club, ignoring these issues will get you voted out of office.”
Hmmm…there is an election coming up next month.
Oh, and I didn’t even mention the trash, I just wish we had a place to put it.