ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced $820,000 in proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 operating budget investments to continue supporting the County’s Youth Engagement Program (YEP!), launch a new Boys and Girls Club at Howard Community College (HCC) and to further fund after-school program Club Wilde Lake. Ball also shared plans for the redevelopment of the Columbia Flier Building as a new community center that will offer important recreational, health and social services. Photos of the event can be seen here.


In Howard County, we celebrate our young people because we see in them the future leaders of our community. While our education and recreational programs are exceptional, we recognize that not every community - much less every child - has equal access to healthy, enriching experiences outside school hours. I want to thank the community partners that have and will contribute to the future redevelopment of the Columbia Flier Building as a community center and the many programs that support our young people.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

In 2023, Ball launched YEP! and created an Youth Engagement Leadership Workgroup aimed at better reaching and providing Howard County’s youth with a safe, supportive, engaging and positive environment where they can thrive. Since YEP! launched last summer, Howard County has invested more than $1 million in YEP! grants to support 30 nonprofits who have provided nearly 5,000 county youth participants with local programming and mentorship opportunities. In his FY25 proposed operating budget, Ball has included an additional $500,000 in YEP! grant funding to continue aiding local nonprofit organizations in their development, creation and/or expansion of their youth programming.

“I’m excited for the teens who live in the Downtown Columbia neighborhoods to have access to these great after-school activities. I’ve been requesting the community center for years and I’m so thrilled that it will soon be a fixture in the social lives of our young people,” said Deb Jung, Chair, Howard County Council.

“These initiatives reflect the County’s commitment to empowering youth, fostering community engagement, and addressing the needs of our underserved residents,” said Howard County Sheriff Marcus Harris. “Together, we are building a stronger, more inclusive future for Howard County.”

“As a current student in Howard County, it is very encouraging to see changemakers who care about youth focus on initiatives that better serve us. Especially in times of uncertainty, fostering positive and memorable experiences can fuel joy and hope.” said Elise Choe, Secretary, Howard County Youth Engagement Leadership Workgroup and Student Member, Local Children’s Board.

In addition to YEP!, Ball’s proposed FY2025 operating budget also includes $220,000 to launch a new Boys and Girls Club at HCC. This partnership will be a first of its kind in Maryland. In alignment with HCC’s mission, “providing pathways to success,” this program will offer Howard County middle and high schoolers learning opportunities geared towards academics, leadership growth, living a healthy lifestyle and being responsible, productive and caring residents.

“In partnership with County Executive Ball, we are proud to establish the Boys & Girls Club at Howard Community College, which will be the first Boys & Girls Club on the campus of a community college in Maryland and look forward to providing tweens and teens from the Wilde Lake community with enriching activities and life-changing opportunities under the guidance of our trained staff.,” said Jeff Breslin, CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore.

Additionally, Ball’s proposed FY2025 operating budget includes a $100,000 investment in support of Club Wilde Lake. Just a few weeks ago, the Wilde Lake Community Association launched Club Wilde Lake, an afterschool program that offers elementary, middle and high school students with a safe space where they can learn more about financial literacy, pursue career exploration and take part in health and wellness, mentoring and physical activity opportunities. The Wilde Lake Community Association was able to launch Club Wilde Lake with the assistance of a $50,000 YEP! grant, and will partner with several community organizations, including the Y of Central Maryland, to offer this critical programming.

“I want to thank the County Executive for his commitment and just working with us as a community association. We’re really looking forward to working with our community, and creating more opportunities for our youth to thrive,” said Sharon Cooper-Kerr, Executive Director and Village Manager, Wilde Lake Community Association.

"On behalf of everyone involved in Club Wilde Lake and the broader community, I extend our sincerest thanks to County Executive Ball and his administration for their exemplary leadership and generosity. Your commitment to youth engagement programming is making a tangible difference in the lives of our young people, and for that, we are truly grateful,” said Brandon Cogdell, Member, Wilde Lake Village Board, Education Committee Co-Chair and Club Wilde Lake Leader.

Once home to a vibrant local print newspaper, the Columbia Flier Building closed its doors in 2011. Three years later, the County acquired the property as a key redevelopment opportunity. Since then, it briefly housed the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship – before it relocated to Columbia Gateway, and most recently, created essential space for several community-serving non-profits, including Columbia Community Care.

Now, a decade later and after much community input, the Columbia Flier Building will soon become a true community resource. Under the vision of the Columbia Concepts development team, the building will become the future home of “The Source,” a 65,000 square foot, state-of-the-art, LEED-certified community center. The Source will feature a 20,000 square foot gymnasium with four basketball courts, a food hall, video game and other game rooms, a recording studio, computer access and Wi-Fi service, tutoring, arts engagement, mentorship programs and employment resources. Once complete, The Source will be more than a place where middle and high school students from Wilde Lake and surrounding neighborhoods can hang out, it will be a hub where they can come together, engage, and inspire one another.  

“Now, more than ever, our young people and their families are voicing the desire for safe and inclusive spaces with access to an abundance of resources, programs and services. Our beloved Columbia Flier building will be transformed into a multipurpose space called The Source,’ that will boast a bold, new, and modern design while memorializing and honoring this iconic building. CCC’s community programs and youth programs, like PUSH & STAND, will finally have a place to grow and prosper,” said Erika Chavarria, Executive Director, Columbia Community Care.

The Source will also feature space where resident businesses and organizations can offer emergency medical, mental health and social services, daycare services with dual immersion focus to address gaps around bilingualism, and a community garden. The new center, which will be constructed and operated by Columbia Concepts, will create at least 100 new jobs.

“The Source will be more than a place where local students from surrounding neighborhoods can hang out; it will be a hub where they can come together, engage, inspire one another and be inspired. It will be a difference maker,” said Brian Kim, Columbia Concepts.


Media Contacts
Safa Hira, Director of Communications

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