Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Guest Post: Stronger, Healthier, Vibrant

Today's post, about the purchase of the Verona Apartments by the County, comes from fellow OMMS parent Jeanne Lay. I asked her if I could share it because I was impressed with the positive tone and giving spirit that her letter communicates. It is possible to ask questions in a way that speaks to shared goals and values. This piece is an excellent example of what that means.


I recently read in a community email communication, The Baltimore Sun, and the Columbia Flyer that the Verona Apartment complex in the Oakland Mills Village of Columbia, Maryland is being purchased by the County.

I’m interested in learning more about the plans for these apartments. While I’m unfamiliar with strategic planning for apartment complexes, there are some things that I do know about the Oakland Mills community:

• We are trying to build a stronger, more healthy and vibrant community.

• Our Village Center offers many amenities to serve the local population. From “Lively Arts for the Little Ones”, a Teen Center, and commuter buses, to an annual high school Homecoming parade, weekly Farmer’s Market, outdoor festival, and an ice skating rink where the community gathers for hockey games, lessons, and to see a show. Something is always happening at Oakland Mills.

• One of the local elementary schools, walking distance from the Village Center, recently launched a “Blessings in a Backpack” program (www.blessingsinabackpack.org), through which many of the student population that receives Free and Reduced Price Meals during the school week receive free food on Fridays to ensure that they do not go without over the weekend. That same elementary school grows a community garden and invites the locals to both give and receive.

• Bright Minds Foundation (www.brightmindsfoundation.org) recently visited the local high school to deliver free computers and computer training to families who were without. Three of their free computers were distributed to homeless teens who attend that high school.

• The Village Center and the local schools offer clothing and coat drives to assist the local community.

The Oakland Mills community welcomes partners who will help lift our Village residents up. We welcome residents who want to live in Howard County for the services and amenities it offers: great commutes to both Baltimore and Washington; a nationally renowned public school system; a robust Healthy Howard (www.healthyhowardmd.org) program - bringing together all facets of the community to create a public health model that can improve the health and well being of every Howard County resident.

I know that affordable housing is a necessity in every community to ensure that families with a variety of financial means have housing options that are affordable to them. My hope is that those needing those public services who live within Oakland Mills find that the community supports every aspect of their lives.

My hope is that with the new ownership of the Verona Apartments,(www.theveronaatoaklandmills.com) the mix of tenants will contribute to the efforts to invigorate and vitalize the community. I also hope that the new ownership will continue to allow the Verona Apartments to “offer the perfect balance of city convenience and tranquil suburban living. Tenants will also be in a great neighborhood near easy transportation routes and close to shopping, dining, and entertainment options for their enjoyment”.

I appreciate any information that you can share regarding plans for those apartments.


Stay tuned for tomorrow's post--a lot of great information from the County.




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