Get Involved in Your Community

Elections for the Village Board and for Columbia Council Representative are coming.

I encourage anyone who is interested in moving Columbia forward into the future to run for office!

For some reason, we’ve had a great deal of amiability and cooperativeness in River Hill over the past several years. I think this is due in part to an inherent understanding that the Village Board and Columbia Council are volunteer positions. We recognize the sacrifice volunteers make—being away from family, hobbies and sometimes sleep. This leads to far more civil discourse and constructive conflict than in other parts of Columbia.

Which leads me to the results of two extreme types of conflict: positive and negative.

First the positive: A group of Board Members of the Columbia Association (CA) toured the Hobbits Glen Clubhouse in mid-February as it moves closer to its reopening. The community is getting a brand new facility; a place that will attract business, and improve property and resale values in Harper’s Choice. Incredibly, the original clubhouse, which is being replaced, was built over 40 years ago as a temporary facility. After several open meetings and debates, discussion, collaborative input from a committee of golfers and residents, the Board approved a design plan for a new clubhouse. We now will have a bright lit, energy efficient, roomy multifunctional restaurant and catering facility with multiple fireplaces, a bar, and a state of the art kitchen. It truly is a venue that will accommodate tournaments, community gatherings, diners, business meetings and even wedding receptions. (And that peculiar odor is gone!) Such a great example of CA partnering with the golfing, residential and business community!

The second example is a bit of the ugly side of negative conflict. CA has too many meetings that go on for too many hours. At present, there is distrust on the CA Board due to conflicting agendas. As a long term CA Board Member, I have seen the Board function at a high level. I have seen constructive conflict. I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t work.

Elected bodies in Columbia are only as good as those who comprise them. We need good people with vision and concern for the entire community—not just single constituencies. Whether through programs, amenities, open space, concerts, camps, school programs, pools, golf courses or gyms, the CA Board Members serve all—not just some—of Columbia. We need Board Members who can stay focused on the important issues of development, creating partnerships with other stake-holders, revitalizing aging village centers, improving walkability and bikeability, and restoring and maintaining our open space environment.

While serving the community is neither straight forward, nor easy, it can be incredibly rewarding!

Columbia is and has been a great place to live. Over the 8 years that I have had the privilege of serving, Columbia has been listed annually as one of the 10 Best Communities in the Country. The challenge as we approach Columbia’s 50th anniversary is
keeping it that way!

So run. Help create a community of tomorrow … and if you can’t run‚ be sure to vote!

Michael Cornell, River Hill Representative to Columbia Council
Columbia Association Board of Directors
cell: 301-742-2761 home: 410-531-9340

The views presented herein represent those of the author only and do not necessarily represent those of the River Hill Community Association Board of Directors.

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