Here are my remarks:
I'm excited to be here for a meeting of the Inner Arbor Trust and the CA Board. It gives me the opportunity to thank all of you for your work to support the park and its mission to be where arts, culture, and community come together.
As I gathered my thoughts for this evening I could hear the sound of the rain outside, which brought back memories of the day we broke ground for the Chrysalis, and the day of its official opening in April. So far I've been to events at Merriweather Park in Symphony Woods in the rain, on the hottest of afternoons, in fair and temperate weather, and on pleasant summer evenings.
Come rain or come shine one thing is notable. I keep seeing more people I don't know. Of course, I naturally look forward to catching up with old friends at community events. But I find it particularly exciting to see more and more new folks at each event. Whether celebrating arts in the park at the inaugural chair decorating event, playing with the Imagination Playground equipment, picnicking at the Columbia Orchestra Pops concert, dancing on the lawn at the Columbia Big Band Concert, or listening to a fascinating author's discussion at Books in Bloom, these people, from Columbia and greater Howard County, are drawn by the opportunity to be a part of varied and entertaining cultural experiences in this beautiful, natural setting.
Something else about these people: the diversity by race, ethnicity, and age is far, far greater that what we see in this room tonight. In short, the people coming to the park look a lot like Columbia.
The overwhelmingly positive response from our community to the Chrysalis space and to its first official season of events confirms what I have believed from the start: that Merriweather Park in Symphony Woods is an excellent plan which will continue to bring more and more life to this once-neglected space. In just the first phase of its implementation one can already see its promise stirring to life.