Discovering the Columbia Association

When we were moving to the area, we were unaware of Columbia being any different than any other suburban community. Columbia was on our list of three or four communities to look at simply because of its proximity to my husband’s work. We only started looking more seriously at Columbia versus other commutable communities when we stopped for a picnic lunch after touring a few homes.

We happened to stop at Wilde Lake, just off Columbia Pike/US 29. We were instantly charmed by the shaded picnic area, the green spaces, the boathouse and the walking path. We wondered if the path went all the way around or not and planned to investigate a bit more before making our next trip into town for house shopping.

We went home and Googled information about Columbia, Md., read the entry on Wikipedia, and clicked on Quickly, we learned about the Columbia Association and we became intrigued: Columbia was not your typical suburban community. After reading about it, we switched our house hunt to Columbia only, despite it not being the closest community to my husband’s work.

When we bought our home, the seller provided us with a covenant packet from our village in Columbia. Perhaps this is how you became aware of the Columbia Association and the villages as well. This packet details the assessment you are responsible for to the Columbia Association as a property owner, as well as detailing your village’s covenants.

Renters in Columbia may not hear anything about the assessments homeowners pay. Their first introduction to Columbia might be noticing all the area pools and wondering about how to get membership or noticing the many pathways criss-crossing behind and beside homes around town. Or maybe they looked online and searched just like we did.One way or the other, many people find their way to the Membership Service Center, where they will receive a welcome packet. In the current version of the packet you receive  a map of Columbia which labels all of the CA facilities; the “CA At a Glance 2013”;  a copy from a magazine article on the “Top 5 things to know about Columbia”; an official visitor’s guide to Howard County; a packet from Phillip Nelson, president of the Columbia Association, beginning with “Welcome Home”; a pamphlet called “Columbia, Maryland – A Planned Community”; a Choose Civility flyer explaining the motto; and a pamphlet about how to become a member of the Columbia Association.


I just picked up one of these packets for the second time the other day. While I read it the first time, I guess I was only looking for information on how to become a member of the pools and fitness facilities. This time while flipping through the materials, I found so much more. There’s a long listing of important area numbers, great descriptions of what the community offers and a bit of Columbia’s history. I’ve lived in Columbia for a little more than two years now and I’m just now discovering what CA offers. I only knew the tip of the iceberg: pools, fitness facilities, and pathways — but there is so much more!Let’s discover CA together!


Melissa Sinclair works in the Communications & Engagement Division at Columbia Association (CA). Melissa recently moved to Columbia with her three-generation family. She has lived in more than a dozen cities and is looking forward to making Columbia, Md., her permanent home! Over the past year she has worked on losing weight, getting fit and doing volunteer work; she is now looking forward to working for CA after staying home with her family for the last several years. Melissa has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a master’s degree in educational administration. Click here to read more of Melissa’s Getting to Know CA series.


1 Comment

Filed under Getting to Know CA

One response to “Discovering the Columbia Association

  1. Melissa, you are so right. There is so much more to know about Columbia. And much of that starts with its history. Columbia actually has an archives, just one of the services of the Columbia Association. It is filled with the documents, maps, photographs, audiovisual materials, articles, ephemera and more that collectively tell the story of our community. Check out the website — or visit. Columbia Archives is in the American City Building, 10227 Wincopin Circle — right next to CA headquarters.

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