GGP forums to start Wednesday

The Baltimore Sun

On Wednesday, General Growth Properties will host the first speaker in a series of public forums to introduce its design and planning team, which is working on the master plan for downtown Columbia.

The forum will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the GGP Building, 10275 Little Patuxent Parkway, preceded at 7 p.m. by coffee and dessert.

The first speaker, Alan Ward, is a landscape architect and urban designer at Sasaki Associates Inc. who has more than 30 years of experience. His accomplishments include acting as principal landscape architect responsible for winning the international design competition to develop the master plan for the site of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and for the development of Reston Town Center in Virginia.

"This public forum will be the community's first chance to hear from and ask questions of one of the key members of our design team," Gregory F. Hamm, GGP's regional vice president and general manger of Columbia, said in a statement. "The community will have the opportunity to learn about Alan Ward's role in the planning process and to respond to his ideas."

Ward has taught architecture and landscape architecture and is the author and photographer of the book American Designed Landscapes: A Photographic Interpretation and editor of Reston Town Center: A Downtown for the 21st Century.

For those without transportation, a free shuttle service will be provided from Vantage House, Slayton House and the Evergreens Apartments to the GGP Building.

Departure times or to reserve a seat on the shuttle: 410-992- 6500 by 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Information about public transportation: Howard Transit customer service, 800-270-9553, or www.howardtransit.com.

County residents who are older than 60 can arrange transportation with Neighbor Ride, 410- 884-RIDE (4733).

For those who are unable to attend the forum, a Web cast will be available afterward at www. columbiatowncenter.info. Information about the series, the April 28 release of the draft master plan and other community events and updates will be available on the Web site.

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