The circle could soon be complete — in more ways than one.
Lake Kittamaqundi has been one of the gems of Columbia’s downtown area from the moment the community was officially founded in 1967. Yet while people can walk along most of the lake, there has never been a pathway going the entire way around it.
But now, as several other projects begin that will help bring the dreams of Columbia’s downtown to reality, Columbia Association (CA) is moving toward completing the loop around Kittamaqundi.
“The pathway around Lake Kittamaqundi has long been envisioned,” said Jane Dembner, CA’s director of community building and sustainability. “It has been in Howard County’s general plan for years and most recently was a highlighted recommended connection in CA’s Active Transportation Action Agenda. Nature lovers, runners, walkers, hikers and cyclists are enthusiastic supporters of this missing link around Lake Kittamaqundi. It is also an important part of providing better pedestrian and cycling connections in, to and around Downtown Columbia.”
Presently, there is an undesignated dirt path along part of the eastern side of the lake, a route created by people who have walked through. But that dirt path doesn’t encourage people to walk entirely around the lake, according to Dennis Mattey, CA’s director of construction.
A feasibility study conducted by Hanover-based BayLand Consultants & Designers — which can be seen online at bit.ly/kittamaqundi — produced three options for completing a pathway around Kittamaqundi:
- One option would loop entirely around the northern end of the lake. Completing that 2-mile loop would involve paving 1,800 linear feet of existing trail; creating 670 feet of new trail meandering between trees; 90 feet of boardwalk in a flood-prone area; and 36 feet of bridge across a swale.
- The second option would include a boardwalk crossing over a northern section of the lake. Completing that 1.8-mile loop would involve paving 1,470 linear feet of existing trail; adding a 280-foot boardwalk; and creating 330 feet of new trail.
- The third option would have a boardwalk and a landmark bridge over the lake that would create a “unique lake viewing experience.” Completing that 1.2-mile loop would involve paving 450 linear feet of existing trail; installing a 90-foot bridge; adding a 375-foot boardwalk; and creating 100 feet of new trail.
BayLand recommended the first option, which has the lowest upfront costs, the lowest long-term maintenance costs, and provides the longest route around the lake, Mattey said.
The estimated cost of design and construction for option one is $513,075, according to BayLand — which is less than option two ($644,925) and option three ($899,325). Infrastructure maintenance costs for option one would be an estimated $2,110 a year, contrasted with $4,520 a year for option two and $6,760 a year for option three.
CA staff will be making a presentation to Town Center residents on March 27 at 7:30 p.m. at Historic Oakland.
“We’re really looking for consensus from the Town Center village board,” Mattey said.
Construction on the loop could be completed by mid-2015.