Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Town Hall

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman will be holding his first Town Hall Meeting tonight at the Other Barn in the Village of Oakland Mills, Columbia. This is pretty exciting from a Village Green/Town Squared perspective (where Columbia and Howard County intersect.)

How ironic that I have a prior commitment driving my daughter to a mandatory rehearsal in Towson. Colossal blogger fail. I hope you will go and bring me up to date. Although public meetings in Oakland Mills in the last several years haven't always shown residents at their best, I'm hoping this one will draw a wider audience with a more varied perspective.

Whether you go or not, I want to point out how incredibly lucky we are in Howard County to have the Other Barn. We don't have many large community spaces in Howard County. Large indoor performances happen mostly at the Rouse Theater. Outdoors? Merriweather. Large community charitable events used to be held in the old Rouse Building--now the site of our new Whole Foods.

There are a few community centers throughout the county but none, in my opinion, has the "Town Hall" feeling and architectural presence of the Other Barn. How incredibly lucky we are that this building was preserved. Oakland Mills uses it all the time: wedding receptions, concerts, community celebrations, OMCA meetings, classes, and more. It also serves as a resource for large meetings whose scope reaches beyond Oakland Mills--tonight, for instance.

Long, long down the road, in the later part of the Inner Arbor/Symphony Woods plan, there are proposals for public buildings that will meet community needs for indoor performance space, public meetings, and charitable events. We really need them. In fact we need them now. When I read about the Metopolitan reaching completion, the development of the Crescent Property, and improvements to Merriweather, I want to see those vital community spaces functioning right at the heart of it all.

But no matter how that all comes to fruition, we'll still need the Other Barn. Yes, it looks old fashioned but it's incredibly versatile and gives us a real sense of place. So, if you're able to come this evening, bring your good manners/hococivility, and a sense of appreciation for this good old space where we can all come together.



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