Friday, April 14, 2017

Separate Worlds

I love Oakland Mills in the Spring. There's something magical about it. My next door neighbors' house has an amazing tree which bursts forth and then rains down "pink snow." There's forsythia and tulips. The grass is growing in thick and green.

I noticed on Facebook this morning that I wrote this in April of 2012:

Yesterday, driving around town, I was struck by how Springtime shows off Columbia at its best. #home

Another one of my neighbors celebrates the arrival of Spring as she documents her long walks around Columbia. First black snake of the season. First toad. She posts photos of adventures with her dogs and I'm struck by all the natural beauty.

Meanwhile, over on Route 1...

As Howard County residents wait, visions for Route 1 languish (Fatimah Waseem)

While we enjoy beautiful Spring walks in lush green neighborhoods:

"People try and die to cross the road. I'll never forget the day I saw a motorized wheelchair going down the center line of Route 1 trying to negotiat across the street," Hudson said. "I've seen moms with baby carriages walking in places where there are no sidewalks. Sidewalks alone for connectivity would be huge."

We've seen huge amounts of money focused on Downtown development. The County Executive has recently announced a new initiative for the Columbia Gateway area. But responses to long-term problems along the Route 1 corridor appear to be along the lines of, "Yeah, it's rough." "It's complicated, you know?"

It's hard to believe that our beautiful rural western HoCo and our lush, blossoming Columbia co-exist with this struggling and neglected area. Surely that's not Howard County? We never see it in the tourism photos. 

Our community rallied to bring back Old Ellicott City after the flood. We continue to see businesses reopen and we celebrate those successes. That can't have been easy. And it must have been complicated. And yet our community and our county government made it a top priority.

As I observe the beauty of Spring this year my enjoyment is tempered by the realization that, somewhere in Howard County, some folks feel like they're at the bottom of the list.

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