We are 25 Now
This article will be published on October issue of The Villager of River Hill community Association.
On September 17, 2016, we celebrated the Village of River Hill’s 25th birthday. This was a day for celebration. From a formerly rural area, we have become a vibrant community. We had our fourth annual Health fair at the same time and there was a great turnout. Jennifer Zhang, (Student Member on the Board of Directors), Henrietta Kan (Coalition Halting Obesity in Children Everywhere), and Jennifer Lynott (RHCA Events and Newsletter Coordinator) were instrumental in organizing this event. Our village manager, Susan Smith, contributed to making the day a great success. Howard County Council Chair Dr. Calvin Ball presented the Association with a certificate and Council Resolution to recognize this great moment. Michael Cornell, the Chair of the Association’s Board of Directors, made the opening remarks and shared his 20+ years’ experience in the village. Dennis Mattey, Director of Open Space and Facility Services, congratulated the community on behalf of the Columbia Association. People of all ages, ethnicities, and faiths shared the joy of celebration.
Let’s Look Back
We are the last of Columbia’s villages to be developed, beginning in 1991. By local standards, we are far from Columbia’s town center, -bordering farms, the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area, and homes on larger lots that are outside the County’s water and sewer districts. The composition of homes is quite different from all previous villages because almost 80 percent of homes are single family homes, while the remaining 20 percent consist of townhouses and condos. There are no rental communities in River Hill, though some homes are available for rent.
The name River Hill refers to an old plantation, dating back more than 100 years ago, which reportedly was one of the first in the state to free its slaves. The Village has two neighborhoods, Pheasant Ridge and Pointer’s Run. Pheasant Ridge was named after a 1745 land grant. The poetic street names were selected from noted American writers Walt Whitman and James Whitcomb Riley. Claret Hall, the community center and home of the Association, was named for the 18th century land grant “White Wine and Claret” that included much of the land that is now part of the village. See Ref 1.
Let’s Look Forward
Now the Village of River Hill includes 2,096 dwelling units and 6,520 people. Our village has one of the most successful shopping centers. We have one of the Columbia Association’s most utilized outdoor pools. The Columbia Gym is also loved by our community. Our children attend Clarksville Elementary, Pointers Run Elementary, Clarksville Middle School and Atholton and River Hill High Schools and they are among the best in the county.
The Clarksville/River Hill community is still growing. Though outside the boundaries of the Village of River Hill, Clarksville Commons, a mixed use development, is finishing construction. More housing units will be developed around the edges of the village, including the Simpson Oaks development currently going through the County’s approval process A new and larger United States Post Office will return to serve Clarksville. Stores will be built at the intersection of Route 108 and Ten Oaks Road. The River Hill Garden Center is expecting to be redeveloped.
At the same time, we need think about how the development in other areas will impact our village, for example, how will Columbia’s new downtown development impact our community? Recently, the Howard County Veterans Foundation expressed interested in building a memorial at the Lakefront fountain. This will modify the fountain either in context or in structure. What is the role of our village in the whole of Columbia and in Howard County?
Education, transportation, family and community are our priority and we strive to make them better. Civic engagement is a crucial part to build a better community. My vision is that through continuous and planned development, we will foresee a more diverse and prosperous community. I am looking forward to enjoying 25 more years of life here in the village until my kids graduate from college.
Ref 1: J.R. Mitchell, D.L. Stebenne, New City Upon A Hill, A History of Columbia, Maryland, P144-145
Chao Wu, Ph.D.
River Hill Representative to Columbia Council and Columbia Association Board of Directors
Disclaimer: This letter only represents Dr. Chao Wu’s personal opinion. It does not represent River Hill Board of Directors nor Columbia Association’s Board.