Thursday, January 24, 2013

Guest Post: Speaking Out for Symphony Woods

Trevor Greene, River Hill resident and former blogger (HoCoPolitico) has graciously allowed me to share his letter to the CA Board.


Dear members of the CA Board of Directors,

I am writing to offer my family's support of the new plan to improve Symphony Woods. Both my wife and I are lifelong Columbians. I grew up in Long Reach and Kings Contrivance, while my wife grew up in Hickory Ridge. My wife and I got married right after grad-school. When we were deciding where to live it wasn't a matter of where in the USA we wanted to live, rather we had a serious discussion about where in Columbia we wanted to live. It was a given that we would come back to what we affectionately call "The Columbubble" to start our family. We lived for some time in Owen Brown before we settled in River Hill.

Seven weeks ago, we were blessed to welcome our son, Elijah, into the world. He was born at Howard County General Hospital. Being new parents has been an incredible adventure. Every day we learn something new about our son. It is amazing though, because quickly after having a child, you stop thinking about how to improve the world for yourself, and change your mentality towards wondering how you can improve the world for your son. I strongly believe that the new plan for Symphony Woods will be a fantastic amenity to improve Columbia and it will help us raise and educate our son.

It was a given that we would raise our family in Columbia because we love the outdoor aspects of our community. Not a week goes by (even in the cold of winter) where we do not walk our dog around the paths near our house. In the warmth of the summer, we alternate walking around Lake Elkhorn and Wilde Lake. In my 32 years of living in Columbia, I have never once gone to Symphony Woods to walk around. The only reason anyone goes there is on their way to a concert or for Wine in the Woods. In it's current state, Symphony Woods is not a good space for exploring. There is nowhere nearby to park. There are no amenities. There is no way to walk around with a stroller. As it is, there is no reason to bring a child to Symphony Woods, nor any reason for an adult to spend time there.

This is why I am so excited about the "Inner Arbor" plan for Symphony Woods. The new plan changes everything about Symphony Woods, in a good way. It makes it a destination both for families and adults. I love the convenient parking. The concept of an arts area would provide an amenity for Columbians to explore, and a reason to come out. The variety of theater and concert space could be used in a variety of ways to educate and entertain. Restaurants and a meeting space would be used both during the week for business, but also on the weekends for celebrations. More than anything, I am excited about the elevated "tree house" walkway.

I imagine in a few short years we will be taking photos of Elijah as he gets ready for his senior prom. He'll take his date to a restaurant in Symphony Woods, and then walk her to the new ballroom in a new Spears Center where they will dance the night away. Afterwards, our son and his date will meander along the treehouse walkway, while they recall shows they saw as kids at the puppet theater.

There will be opponents to this plan. They will say that you are going too fast. I urge you to ignore those comments. We need this amenity now, so that my son will have the opportunity to experience the Inner Arbor. There has been enough talk. It is time for action.

Of course, this plan needs to be well planned, and the community should be heard as the details are put together. This is why the organization of a trust to oversee the design and development of the Inner Arbor is a fantastic idea. It should not be up to the CA Board to determine the details of this plan. You have enough on your plate already. Please do not go to your CA Board meeting and argue over the finer points of this plan. I urge you to create the Trust, and charge the Trust with the responsibility of creating and implementing a plan for the improvement of Symphony Woods, and then hand the reigns of the plan over to the Trust members.

Thank you for your hard work volunteering for our community. I know how hard your work is, and how often it goes unappreciated. If you pass this plan, I know for years to come people will come to Symphony Woods and appreciate what you have helped create.

Trevor Greene, D.D.S.

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