Proposed 'fun center' rejected in Long Reach Residents fear traffic, crime


A Columbia Association plan to build a "family fun center" is "probably a dead issue," said CA Vice President Rob Goldman after Long Reach residents blasted the proposal at a special community meeting Tuesday night.

"I don't think we have any other viable sites," Mr. Goldman said. "It's too bad. I think people would enjoy it."

The center would have included an outdoor 36-hole miniature golf course, outdoor batting cages, a picnic area and a clubhouse.

The proposed Long Reach site is a 6.5-acre parcel near the intersection of Dobbin Road and Tamar Drive, across from the county ball fields. CA owns several other potential sites for the facility, but none is along well traveled-roads.

Long Reach residents said they were concerned such a facility would increase traffic on busy streets and could attract criminal activity.

"It would attract people from outside the village and bring crime into the area," said Colette Maravetz. "We don't have the policing. I don't want to see a fun jungle anywhere in Columbia."

Residents and the Long Reach village board also discussed with Mr. Goldman alternatives for increasing usage of Columbia's pools and the possibility of building a pool for the Kendall Ridge neighborhood.

About half of Columbia's 21 pools aren't used to capacity, said Mr. Goldman, adding that CA spent $1.4 million more operating community pools than it took in during the last budget year. Long Reach's three pools rank about average in usage, he said.

Kendall Ridge resident Jon Pearl said one reason his family moved to Columbia three years ago was for its playgrounds and pools. But the neighborhood lacks some amenities, he said.

"Residents are more than somewhat aggravated that money spent for lien payments isn't coming back to the village," he said. "It's being spent outside."

Since Kendall Ridge is slated for 1,200 additional housing units, the Columbia Council might consider building a pool for an estimated $1 million, said Mr. Goldman.

Building the 22nd association-operated pool could cost the association $80,000 to $100,000 in annual operating losses, he said.

Mr. Pearl said he's concerned that the council is contemplating spending an estimated $5.5 million for a Fairway Hills golf course before Kendall Ridge receives more basic amenities.

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