Improving Children’s Play Spaces in River Hill

Residents have come to the River Hill Community Association (RHCA) Board meetings requesting that a community playground be built in River Hill, as they offer more modern and larger play environments than the existing tot lots. Also, many pointed out that most other Columbia Association (CA) villages have community playgrounds in addition to their tot lots, and questioned why River Hill lacks this amenity. Therefore, the Board explored the idea of a community playground in an effort to improve our children’s play spaces and respond to resident requests.
A review from CA’s open space team found only two spaces large enough to support a community playground because very little accessible and usable open space was left after the River Hill community was built. Neither of the sites identified by CA are centrally located, such as near the outdoor swimming pool, which is where most other villages have their community playgrounds. One site under consideration was the grassy open space area on the western side of Indian Summer Drive between Sunlit Water Way and Flowing Water Trail. The second site was between Linden-Linthicum United Methodist Church and the Whistling Winds Walk tot lot.

On September 14, Dalia Shlash, Board Member and Open Space Liaison, led an open meeting to discuss and obtain feedback on the concept of building a River Hill community playground at one of the proposed locations. The community meeting and the e-mailed feedback were very productive and informative. Most feedback was in opposition to constructing a community playground in either location, although residents were agreeable to the concept of improving play spaces within River Hill. This feedback was important to hear and helped the Board of Directors rule out both locations as potential sites for a community playground.
Based on resident feedback, the RHCA Board remains committed to improving the children’s play spaces in River Hill in a manner agreeable to community members. Therefore, instead of pursuing the idea of a community playground in River Hill, the Board requested that CA upgrade two tot lots with more modern equipment, with one located in the Pheasant Ridge community and one in the Pointer’s Run community. If approved, the planning and construction funds from CA for two tot lots will be part of the FY19/20 Capital Budget.
The RHCA Board wants to thank all residents that provided feedback on these proposals. Strong resident involvement is what makes River Hill such a great community. The Board will inform all residents about further developments, and there will be more opportunities for residents to provide input on locations and major design aspects. Stay tuned!
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