Although Columbia is relatively young compared to many other Maryland towns, some of its facilities are aging and need to be replaced.
The proposed Columbia Association capital budget for fiscal years 2013 and 2014 includes a few such projects — the docks at Lake Kittamaqundi in downtown Columbia, the tennis courts and tennis clubhouse in Owen Brown and the Hobbit's Glen golf clubhouse in Harper's Choice.
The proposed budget, which CA board members started reviewing this month, asks for $467,000 for work on three sections of the docks at Lake Kittamaqundi.
Workers were replacing a section of dock by the lake's boat rental building this past spring and saw rotting in the pilings and heavy timbers that support the docks.
"Until we started disassembling everything, we didn't realize how bad it was," said Daniel D'Amore, CA's director for open space management.
Under the proposed budget, the next section of dock to be replaced would be the pier extending out to where Kittamaqundi's famed bell tower once stood.
The pier and the section of dock recently replaced were built in 1966 and 1967, D'Amore said.
The budget calls for $218,000 for replacing the pier during the 2013 fiscal year, a project that could be done within three months — ideally before any significant events are held at the lakefront and a lot of people would be standing on it.
Another $159,000 would go to replacing the adjacent section of pier that curves alongside a rock wall. That project would take place during the 2014 fiscal year.
The L-shaped section of dock that runs from the area in front of the lakefront restaurants would also be worked on during the 2014 fiscal year. That dock was built in 1998, and only its boards need to be replaced, rather than the entire structure, D'Amore said. The proposed budget calls for $90,000 for that project, which D'Amore said could be completed in a month or less, depending on the weather.
The dock sections will be closed while work is under way.
The docks are not the only project proposed for Lake Kittamaqundi. CA staff have asked for $330,000 for the 2013-2015 fiscal years to add a bridge, a boardwalk and a section of a pathway on the north side that would complete the loop around the lake.
Replacing tennis courts
The tennis courts at the Owen Brown Tennis Club, meanwhile, are 36 years old, putting them past the usual useful court life span of 30 years, according to budget documents. CA renovated six of the club's 12 courts about 15 years ago. Five of those courts are now within the "tennis bubble" structure.
The six other courts need to be completely replaced, according to Rob Goldman, CA's chief operating officer and vice president.
The proposed budget asks for $235,000 for the 2013 fiscal year. The work would either be done before or after summer 2012 to avoid closing the courts when they are used the most, Goldman said.
Another $350,000 has been requested for the 2014 fiscal year for replacing the tennis clubhouse. Budget documents describe the 36-year-old building as "an electrical nightmare with antiquated wiring and holes in places that allow animals to live." The roof, documents say, "is coming apart at the seams with water leakage impending."
CA staff want to demolish the clubhouse and build a new one. Because of the planning and approval process, construction might not actually begin until mid-2014, Goldman said.
The Wilde Lake tennis clubhouse was also replaced several years ago, a project that was well-received, he said.
Also, the golf clubhouse in Hobbit's Glen will either be renovated or replaced. The CA board has already approved up to $6 million for the project. CA is in the process of selecting an architecture and engineering firm.
Two public hearings on the budget are scheduled for January. The CA board will vote on the budget in February.