On February 6th the Columbia Association (CA) posted the following on social media:

CA has made one slight change to staff’s proposal for 15 neighborhood pools to open this summer.

Read the updated recommendation here: http://ow.ly/sEfx50Dqm9V

On the page in the link is the following:

What’s set to open and what’s not?

The 15 pools that CA plans to open in the summer are:

  • Clemens Crossing (CCP)
  • Dickinson (DIP)
  • Dorsey Hall (DHP)
  • Hawthorn (HAP)
  • Hobbit’s Glen (HGP)
  • Hopewell Mini WaterPark (HWP)
  • Huntington (HUP)
  • Kendall Ridge (KRP)
  • Longfellow (LFP)
  • Phelps Luck (PLP)
  • River Hill (RHP)
  • Running Brook (RBP)
  • Steven’s Forest (SFP)
  • Swansfield Mini Water Park (SWP)
  • Thunder Hill (THP)

The pools that are not included in the FY 2022 budget are:

  • Bryant Woods (BWP)
  • Clary’s Forest (CFP)
  • Dasher Green (DGP)
  • Faulkner Ridge (FRP)
  • Jeffers Hill (JHP)
  • Locust Park (LPP)
  • MacGill’s Common (MCP)
  • Talbott Springs (TSP)

Other notable items in that blog post from CA:

Board approval

CA’s Board of Directors may decide to pursue different options and does have the authority to override CA’s recommendation. The budget approval process takes place through late February. We’ll talk about ways to get involved at the end of this article.

Why is CA trying to close my pool?

Whether it’s the closest to home, the one with your favorite lane or the least crowded, we know everyone has a favorite neighborhood pool. That said, CA’s team carefully considered the pools that are not included in FY 2022’s operating budget.

Here’s a pool-by-pool breakdown of the reasoning:

  • Bryant Woods (BWP) – Bryant Woods was built back in 1967. It only has 6 lanes that are non-standard size, meaning they’re too short to be used for swim meets. Nearby Faulkner Ridge (about a mile away) is more ideal for swim meets and has an ADA-compliant wading pool.
  • Clary’s Forest (CFP) – Clary’s Forest is the only pool in Hickory Ridge with 6 lanes. It also sits adjacent to houses, and as a result of the noise complaints we get from the neighbors every summer, we’re prevented from opening the pool for early morning programming. Hawthorn (1.3 miles away) is an ADA-compliant location that hosts swim lessons. Clemens Crossing is used for meets as well as the Columbia Association Kids Triathlon and the Columbia Association Triathlon.
  • Dasher Green (DGP) – The village of Owen Brown has two pools, Dasher Green and Hopewell. Both are eight lane pools. However, Hopewell (about two miles away) is one of the most well-used CA-operated locations and has the ability to host the CNSL team for one summer.
  • Faulkner Ridge (FRP) – After hearing some concerns from the community, staff is recommending that Faulkner Ridge close and Running Brook (1.8 miles away) remain open. Running Brook is more geographically accessible to both Town Center and Wilde Lake residents and can fulfill the same programming needs.
  • Jeffers Hill (JHP) – Long Reach is the only village with four pools. Kendall Ridge (about two miles away) is an ADA-compliant location. Phelps Luck (1.7 miles away) is needed to host the All City Swim Meet. Additionally, both Kendall Ridge and Phelps Luck have higher attendance than Jeffers Hill and Locust Park.
  • Locust Park (LPP) – Again, Long Reach is home to four neighborhood pools. Kendall Ridge (1.7 miles away) is an ADA-compliant location. Phelps Luck (little over a mile away) is needed to host the All City Swim Meet. Additionally, both Kendall Ridge and Phelps Luck have higher attendance than Jeffers Hill and Locust Park.
  • MacGill’s Common (MCP) – Kings Contrivance has two other pools in the village, Huntington and Dickinson. Huntington (less than two miles away) has eight lanes, which means it can host a meet every weekend for the two CNSL teams in the village. CA is also working to host the Autism program at Huntington for 2021. Dickinson (1.3 miles away) has the highest attendance in the village.
  • Talbott Springs (TSP) –  Talbott Springs has the second lowest attendance. Oakland Mills also has Thunder Hill, which has higher attendance and is geographically furthest from other pools in the area. Steven’s Forest (about a mile away) is an ADA-compliant location and a hub for aqua fitness and morning lap swimming.

How do I voice my opinion on this proposal?

The Board will meet periodically from now through late February to discuss FY 2022 budget issues, and all of them are open to the public. That includes the following work sessions and meetings:

  • Thursday, January 14 – Work session
  • Thursday, January 28 – Regular meeting followed by a work session
  • Thursday, February 11 – Work session
  • Thursday, February 18 – Work session
  • Thursday, February 25 – Board discussion and vote on the FY22 Budget

You can also participate and stay informed in the following ways:

There is much more information provided in the post from Columbia Association here: https://www.columbiaassociation.org/blog/what-the-draft-budget-could-mean-for-your-neighborhood-pool/

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If you are not a fan of this proposal from CA…get involved and voice your opinion. My guess is that the closing of 8 of the 23 pools will not come with a reduction in CA fees in 2021. Maybe someone part of CA should ask that question during the budget process this year.

Scott E

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