Joint study to analyze Columbia village centers

A joint study that will evaulate the status and future of Columbia's village centers will be conducted by the Columbia Association, the Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning and the Howard County Economic Development Authority, according to a CA news release.

Work on the study, called the "Columbia Market Analysis and Economic Development Services" study, began this month, and will also include an analysis of the Dobbin Road and Snowden River Parkway area.

Work is expected to be complete in spring of 2014.

"We are keen to understand the market potential for each village center and the relationship of the centers to other competing commercial areas," said Jane Dembner, CA's director of community building and sustainability. "This knowledge base is key to defining strategies and tools that can help revitalize and reposition the village centers, particularly some of the older centers."

The study will be conducted by Retail and Development Strategies LLC, and led by its managing principal, Tom Moriarity. The RDS consulting team includes WTL+a, Folan Consulting and Gibbs Planning Group.

The first of three public meetings on the study will be held on Thursday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m., at The Hawthorn Center, 6175 Sunny Spring in west Columbia. The meeting will introduce the consultant team, provide an overview of the project, explain the study process and objectives, and include time for discussion with the meeting's participants. Registration is encouraged but not required via

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