Kendall Ridge continues fight for pool EAST COLUMBIA


Kendall Ridge residents are gearing up for another attempt to convince the Columbia Council that their neighborhood in Long Reach village should, like other Columbia neighborhoods, have a swimming pool.

Residents of the newest Long Reach neighborhood, which is designated for development over the next few years, plan to argue their case before the Columbia Council at two budget hearings later this month.

"We're going to urge the neighborhood to come out en masse and give them our views," said Beverly Riling, a Kendall Ridge community organizer.

But some Kendall Ridge residents say they are weary from repeating the same arguments year after year.

"A lot of people are burned out by it," said Sharon Cohen. "You get tired of fighting the same fight for four years. Basically, you get the feeling with the [Columbia Council] that if it's an issue not affecting their neighborhood, they don't care."

Hearings on the Columbia Association's proposed $30.6 million 1993-94 budget will be held at 8 p.m. Jan. 19 at Slayton House in the Wilde Lake Village Center and Jan. 21 at the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center.

An association staff member will attend a Long Reach village board meeting at 7:30 p.m. next Tuesday at Stonehouse to explain the proposed budget and answer questions.

The Columbia Council voted against including $75,000 in planning money for a Kendall Ridge pool in the proposed capital budget. Gail Bailey, Long Reach village council representative, said she plans to propose adding the money to the budget before a final vote in early March.

Three of the nine council members supported appropriating money to plan a Kendall Ridge pool, and another was not present for the vote, said Ms. Bailey.

"We're closer than we've been before," said Ms. Riling.

Some council members have opposed building a new neighborhood pool for Kendall Ridge because Columbia's existing 21 pools are losing money annually. There are three other pools in Long Reach, in each of the other neighborhoods.

There also are competing interests, such as a proposed multimillion-dollar golf course, reducing the Columbia Association's deficit and residents' opposition to increased lien fees. The association estimates a new pool would cost about $1 million.

Long Reach village board member Cecilia Januszkiewicz said the board hasn't met yet to discuss its strategy. She acknowledged it will be difficult to add planning money for the pool because another budget item would have to be cut.

"It's not an easy call for CA," she said.

The Columbia Association operates and maintains Columbia's recreational facilities and meeting centers and manages community programs. It derives more than 50 percent of its revenue from property assessments. The Columbia Council determines budget priorities for the Columbia association.

Kendall Ridge residents aren't getting their money's worth from their lien payments since the neighborhood lacks a pool -- a basic amenity that Kendall Ridge developers used as a marketing tool to lure residents to the new neighborhood, said Ms. Cohen.

Ms. Riling said many people choose to live in Columbia because of the "Columbia concept," which includes pools, parks and pathways within walking distance.

"We are a neighborhood in Columbia and we should be treated like all neighborhoods in Columbia," she said. "Geographically, our neighborhood sticks out away from the rest of Columbia. We feel like the ugly stepsister."

Kendall Ridge children now have to travel from one to three miles to get to the Locust Park pool. "I worry about that in today's times," said Ms. Cohen. Columbia has 21 neighborhood pools, most of which are within close proximity to residents.

But it isn't just the convenience that's lacking, said Ms. Cohen, who has three children.

"It's a neighborhood feeling of belonging somewhere. It's an emotional thing more than anything else," she said. "Some people might say, 'So what, you have to drive two miles,' but that's what a pool does. It creates a nice feeling in the neighborhood."

Ms. Bailey said she's disturbed that $75,000 has been included in the proposed budget to plan a pool for River Hill, the 10th and final village to be built in Columbia. Kendall Ridge now has many more housing units than River Hill, she said.

Kendall Ridge has a population of about 3,000. Development plans call for adding about 1,000 housing units, which could double the population.

"If it wasn't going to be so huge, the need for the pool wouldn't be so great," said Ms. Bailey.

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