Downtown Columbia

A view of Downtown Columbia from overhead. (Doug Kapustin / September 18, 2012)

The Downtown Columbia Master Plan was recognized as the winner of the 2012 Planner's Choice Award last week at the Maryland chapter of the American Planning Association's regional conference.

According to a Howard County government news release, the plan was chosen from a number of entries for excellence in planning processes and projects state-wide, a category that recognizes "innovative public process and comprehensive community, downtown improvement, management, infrastructure and conservation and preservation planning."

“The primary purpose of this year’s conference was to answer the question, ‘What makes a complete community?’," Howard County Executive Ken Ulman said in a statement. "This recognition illustrates how the Downtown Columbia Master Plan, and the entire planning process, embodies many of the core principles that will lead to creating a complete community of lasting value."

Mark Thompson, the county's director of development of downtown redevelopment, said the award is especially significant because it "reflects the votes of planning professionals across the state."


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In September, the downtown plan was given a merit award by the International Development Agency.