Monday, July 28, 2014

Emerson HOA Board Meeting 7/28/14

(Full official minutes are posted to the Emerson Residents-Only section of the Emerson web site with login required. This is just a summary of some of the public highlights.)

Highlights of the Emerson Board Meeting on 7/28/14:
  1. Parking issues to be reviewed by Howard County on August 8th
  2. Architectural review of covenant violations completed
  3. Other maintenance
  4. Activities
  5. Committees
  6. Miscellaneous

Saturday, July 26, 2014

No Flamingo Is An Island

You may have noticed that there was a second Flamingo on the first island in our community this Friday:

Flamingo Island

While we would like to attribute this to the success of our Flamingo Breeding Program, there is actually a purpose to this and it does not imply that you were supposed to wait on the island for Flamingo Friday to begin.

No, we don't actually have a Flamingo Breeding Program. They're plastic. :)

The Optional Auxiliary Flamingo

Downtown Columbia Development Proposals in 2015

Developer Howard Hughes Corp. hopes to begin a long-term plan within the next year for $1 billion of development in an area of downtown Columbia known as The Crescent, located next to Merriweather Post Pavilion.

The goal is to create a mixed-use high-density area where people could live, work, and play. Amenities would include a new library, a state-of-the-art swim center, and a conference center with a 15,000 square foot ballroom.

This is part of a much bigger plan to make Columbia more vibrant over the next few decades and to fully realize the vision of founder Jim Rouse.

Design Collective rendering of The Crescent as
 published in The Baltimore Sun

The proposal calls for 4.8 million sq. ft. of residential, office space, retail, medical, and recreational facilities in a setting with 20-story towers and an urban streetscape comparable to Bethesda Row.

If approvals are granted, the developer plans to begin construction in Spring 2015 with the first buildings opening in late 2016.

Timeline for Downtown Columbia:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Flamingo Is On the Move

The Flamingo is on the move!

I'm a flamingo in a hurry

If you're not sure what that means, see the Flamingo Fridays! post. Hopefully we'll see you Friday!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Gorman Farm

Tucked into a bend of Gorman Road right next to Emerson is the 58-acre family-run Gorman Farm, which operates a Farm Stand for organic crops from its fields and some other local sources.

During the Spring they have "Pick Your Own" berries, though this year's pick-your-strawberries season ended on June 9th.

They also offer a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program providing weekly "shares" of fresh produce to subscribers, varying throughout the year as the crops are rotated in the fields.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Towne Center at Laurel Update

Update: The Grand Opening for Towne Centre at Laurel will be Saturday, November 15, 2014 from 3 PM - 5 PM, and will feature: 
  • Live music
  • Food tastings
  • Ribbon cutting ceremony at 4:30 PM
  • NFL Players (Keenan Robinson of the Redskins from 5-6 PM, Dennis Pitta of the Ravens from 5:30-6:30 PM)

Towne Centre at Laurel, the $130M development that replaced the now demolished Laurel Mall, has begun opening new stores and as of January 2014 was 85% leased.

Many of the other tenants will open in Fall 2014 during Phase 2 of the project, around October 1st. More retailers should be announced in the future.

The redevelopment also improved the traffic options at the site, to include a new four-way intersection at Cherry Lane.

Tenants announced in January were:

Emerson Movie Night

Emerson has announced that they will be showing The Lego Movie on Friday night, exclusively for Emerson residents! (ID required)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Emerson National Night Out 2014: Ice Cream Social

(Announcement Reposted From Emerson Master HOA)

Please join the Emerson Safety and Neighborhood Watch Committee on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 from 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM for a community National Night Out Ice Cream Social at the Emerson Clubhouse.

It will be an evening of delicious ice cream, moon bounce, cotton candy, fun-filled activities, gift card giveaways, live music and public safety demonstrations for the entire community. You will have the opportunity to climb aboard and explore public safety apparatus such as an ambulance, fire engines, mobile command units and much more.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Howard County Restaurant Weeks: July 21 - August 4

Howard County's two-week Summer Restaurant Week will run from Monday, July 21 to Monday, August 4.

During this period some of the restaurants in Howard County will offer special reduced-price prix fixe menus (typically $10-$15 for lunch and $35-$45 for dinner). This is your chance to try these fine establishments at roughly 50%-60% of the normal cost!

This summer the theme will be "Love Local," emphasizing ingredients sourced from local farms.

To whet your appetite, here are pictures from a few restaurants:

Flank steak, sweet potato parmigiano hash brown, baby spinach,
poached eggs with truffle hollandaise at Bistro Blanc

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Gorman Road Repaving Project

It looks like Howard County decided to go whole hog on Gorman Road this addition to the reconstruction and straightening of the closed section near Wincopia Farms, this week milling and repaving started on the almost 2-mile stretch between the I-95 overpass and Route 1.

After two days the top layer of asphalt has been milled down for about half of this segment of road on the eastbound side, leaving grooved pavement behind. No word on how long it will take to finish the job.

As of 7/8/14, the County also had not posted any updates on the section of Gorman Road closed for improvements, on either their web site or to the recorded phone number (410-313-3637).

(Update 7/23/14)

A Savage Mill Photo Album

Just down the road from Autumn Walk and Emerson, Savage Mill was established in 1822 as a textile factory using water from the Little Patuxent River running over a 30-foot water wheel to provide the power for machines to weave cloth.

The mills mostly produced canvas used for sails, tents, cots, and even painted silent movie backdrops over a period of 125 years, finally shutting down shortly after World War II as demand declined.

In the 1980's Savage Mill was renovated into a collection of shops with a focus on artists, crafts, and antiques.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Fourth of July!

Have a wonderful Independence Day holiday, wherever you are!

The Columbia Lakefront awaits the fireworks on a perfect summer's evening

A patchwork of blankets reserves spaces for the fireworks on Columbia's
Lakefront on the Fourth of July

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Adjusting Your HVAC Vents (Heating and Cooling)

Each Summer and Winter, most of us have to adjust our HVAC systems to keep our homes at a comfortable temperature. Here are some tips on how to make these adjustments:

In this example you can see two damper levers (the back and front of the
house) while the "secret hidden damper lever" to the third floor is behind
the curved duct in the middle (up and behind the wooden joist), and requires
a stepladder to reach. The vertical duct on the left is for the return air flow.

  1. Each of us has three damper levers controlling the airflow to different parts of the house: 
    1. One goes to the front section of the house (second floor above the garage)
    2. Another lever controls airflow to the back of the house (first and second floors)
    3. The final lever -- and the hardest to reach -- controls airflow to the third floor

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Knott Realty Plans Possible New Emerson Office Park

According to the Baltimore Business JournalKnott Realty recently purchased 60 more acres in Emerson for $13M from Howard Hughes Corporation and plans to build as much as 600,000 sq. ft. of office space including a possible retail component.

The proposed campus would be called "Emerson Corporate Commons North" and would complement the existing Emerson Commons office park on Stephens Road and Sterling Drive.

To date about 750,000 sq. ft. of office space has already been built in Emerson Commons on 50 acres of land, though 160,000 sq. ft. in Emerson VIII (between Whiskey Bottom Road and Sterling Drive) is still not leased. Knott says that Emerson Commons could eventually grow to a total of 900,000 sq. ft.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Grand Re-Opening of Savage Branch Library & STEM Center on 7/22/14

(Updated with video and photos from the Grand Re-Opening)

The renovated Howard County Savage Branch Library & STEM Education Center will re-open on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 12:30 PM. Doors will open at 12:45 PM and tours and activities will be held up to 6 PM.

During the year-long renovation a small Express Branch Library opened in the Lincoln Center shopping center near Route 1. The Express Branch closed on June 28th.

Among the $6M in improvements made to the Savage Branch Library were:
  • The site was expanded to use the former Senior Center and Health Department spaces, increasing public areas by 9,000 sq. ft. to 24,000 sq. ft.
  • A Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education Center was created:

In the Garden

I noticed that some people's flowerbeds look really nice, especially the ornamental grasses, so I asked someone how they achieved this.

Apparently the secret is not to just let them grow however they'd like, but rather to:
  • Cut these grassy plants back to the ground in the Fall at the end of the season.
  • In the Spring and Summer after they've grown back, prune them on a regular basis to remove any dead or dying blades. Once you've started doing this it's fairly easy to just maintain it each day.
  • Also prune them around the base if you'd like to keep them looking more like a clean bunch, especially since these plants spread in part by sending runners underground.