Howard County needs a first-class ice facility. And we need it now. It is amazing to me that we can bring businesses into the County to build fitness palaces, indoor basketball arenas, and indoor soccer fields, and we can't have a decent ice facilty.
I should change that last statement. We do have a "decent" ice facility in the county, but the skating rink in Oakland Mills is 1) closed until August, 2) a single-rink facility, and 3) already booked solid during the skating season. Lots of county business-- hockey teams, figure skaters, recreational skaters-- go to Gunpowder in Montgomery County right over the county line, or even to Piney Orchard in Odenton-- which now has been more aggressive in its marketing since the Washington Capitals don't practice there anymore.
I have two solutions to offer. One would be to expand the current Columbia Ice Rink, adding a second full-size sheet of ice. This could be done if the current parking lot next to the rink is used, which then pushes the parking for the ice rink out into the village center and/or Interfaith Center parking. Adding in the parking for the proposed Meridian Square, this could make Oakland Mills a very busy place to be, very fast, and would spur commercial investment there.
The second solution would be the establishment of a new ice facility in the county. Such a facility could also incorporate a swimming and diving center which could help facilitate the inclusion of swimming as a high school varsity sport in the county-- which it isn't, now, obstensibly because of the lack of available pools. (Yet the local high schools' ice hockey teams play in an interscholastic league. Go figure.)
The vision would be that the new facility be a single sheet, like the Columbia Ice Rink-- but one facility or the other, would be open year-round. And hopefully, the new facility would be centrally located in the county-- maybe as part of a redesigned Wilde Lake Village Center? Or, how about in Blandair Regional Park? Although the latter is still a few years off.
The need for more water and ice-based facilities is there-- how and when the need will be met is uncertain.