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GGP to release master-plan draft

The Baltimore Sun

General Growth Properties Inc. has announced that it will release its draft master plan for the redevelopment of Columbia's Town Center on April 28.

As a part of the process, General Growth Properties will host a series of community meetings and forums, beginning in March.

"We want the process of planning to revitalize Columbia Town Center to be inclusive of all interested people," said Gregory F. Hamm, GGP regional vice president and general manager of Columbia, in a statement released last week. "The place to be created will find part of its greatness through their voices. We strongly encourage the participation of all members of the Howard County community."

The company has scheduled forums where residents can ask questions and share ideas with its planning team in advance of the draft plan's unveiling.

Two of the dates have been confirmed:

March 5 -- with Alan Ward, principal, Sasaki Associates Inc., Columbia redevelopment architect.

April 9 -- with Jaquelin T. Robertson, founding partner Cooper, Robertson & Partners, Columbia redevelopment architect.

Additional dates and presenters will be announced, according to GGP.

GGP also plans multiple forums for community participation after the April 28 release of a draft plan, said Hamm.

The first will be an open forum with each of Columbia's 10 villages.

Also planned are issue-specific sessions focusing on subjects such as transportation, the environment, housing and arts and cultural opportunities.

"Going forward, there will be many opportunities for the community to get to know members of the world-class team animating this planning process, and to respond to their ideas," Hamm said in a statement. "GGP is committed to working with all those with a stake in Columbia's future."

Hamm added that "the plan that we share on April 28 will be further refined based on continuous community insight."

"This first draft, which will follow the county's recently released framework plan, will be followed by sustained collaboration, village-by-village, focusing on each concern and the collective determination for a better Columbia," he said.

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