Tuesday, February 02, 2010

A Thankless Job

Last night, after the Howard County council voted unanimously in favor of the enabling legislation for the redevelopment of Columbia Town Center, each of the council members gave brief comments thanking the folks who put so much time and effort into making this happen. Family members were thanked, council staffs were thanked, the executive’s staff was thanked, community volunteers were thanked and county employees were thanked.

Yet even though Greg Hamm and several members of his staff were still in the room at 11:00 PM, not a single member of the council publicly thanked him or his company, General Growth Properties.

Sure, I know, Greg and GGP were only doing their job. Still, you could say the same about the county employees and the council members and executives’ staffs, they were just doing their jobs too. The fact of the matter is that everyone involved in the process went the extra yard to make this work but none of it would have even been possible were it not for the plan and perseverance of GGP.

It’s been a tough year for GGP. When the company sought protection of the bankruptcy courts a year ago, all of the development projects that the company was working on, except Columbia, ground to a halt. That was no small feat. Greg fought hard for the limited resources to keep the Columbia Town Center program on track and he had to do it with a greatly reduced post bankruptcy staff.

Yes, GGP the company does stand to gain financially from this effort but that does not diminish the hard work that individuals put forth in this effort. They poured their hearts and souls into this effort and then when it was finally over no one on the council had the courage to thank them in their post vote remarks.

Choose civility indeed.

After the council members concluded their remarks, a number of those in attendence stood and first applauded the council members and then turned around and applauded the GGP folks in the back of the room. At least they understood.


Anonymous said...

Yo, WB. They were PAID to be there! Next time I'm mugged I'll thank the mugger, under those rules.

HoCoRising said...

WB - Thanks to YOU for staying there so late to report back with the Twitter feed.

I hope that all of the optimists are right and us cynics are crushed with the joy of the new Columbia. Maybe it's because I grew up here, but I will miss the old Columbia. I am excited by the new possibilities (and maybe a day where I don't have to commute all the way to Baltimore due to the commercial buzz in my backyard), but I worry that the Emperor's New Clothes are going to get drafy.

Tom said...

Everyone this is not an ending. It is just a phase change. We still have thirty more years to make sure everything progresses properly.
And yes, those of us who have been involved in this process know quite well how hard Greg Hamm and his team have worked and will continue to work to take this community into the 21st Century.
By the way now is the time for the County to commit to finally having a presence in downtown Columbia. Perhaps in the Maggie Brown Municipal Building.
PS Don't forget Marsha and her DPZ folks. They did a little overtime on this project too.

Anonymous said...

Great post WB. As we know all too well, paying someone to do a job doesn't necessarily mean they'll go the extra mile. Greg fought hard to keep his funding going and sat through hundreds of meetings with the community and county officials. Whether we like it or not, we can't get our downtown without a willing private partner. GGP has proven to be that partner. Also a good comment not to forget Marsha M, Bill Mackey and the rest of the DPZ staff, the office of law and the Council staff. Amazing job done by all. Now more work to be done!

Bob O said...

Excellent coverage, WB. Thanks, I couldn't attend. End of an era, beginning of the next...although I'm not too sure what that beginning will lead to....