Friday, November 21, 2014

Dream Big

Here is my testimony from last night's Planning Board meeting:

I am here to speak in support of the Inner Arbor Trust, specifically the plan for Merriweather Park in Symphony Woods and the phase of the plan you are considering tonight.

There is something deeply human in the desire to tell and retell the story of where we came from. It is a very natural thing to treasure our memories and seek ways to preserve them, whether in scrapbooks, time capsules, or museums. Right now in Columbia we are challenged to balance a deep respect for our roots with the needs of our residents today and in the future. Communities are living entities that grow, change, reach, adapt, and transform. Memories alone cannot sustain them.

The plan you will be voting on tonight has its roots in the very beginnings of Columbia, while also meeting the requirements of our more recent Downtown Plan. Its design will attract new life to an area long-dormant. It will create spaces for play, enjoyment of nature, arts experiences, and restful relaxation. It speaks to who we are as a communty today and inspires us to dream big dreams for the future.

Artifacts can be placed in a time capsule for safe keeping. Communities cannot. While Columbia will always need story-tellers to keep our story going, we will also need dreamers, planners, and builders to bring to life the stories that haven't yet been told. This park will be a place that brings all of us together. I ask that you approve this first part of the plan and continue your support for this park as it progresses.


I wasn't sure I really wanted to go last night. (My dislike of meetings is well-known at this point.) But my desire to see this thing through outweighed the negatives. I went.

The best thing for me was to see and hear so much testimony that was far and away superior to mine. I tend to get caught up in my own perfectionism. I write and rewrite, in search of the perfect turn of phrase.

But last night was an education in how many different kinds of people have chosen to stand up in favor of this park for our community. Brilliant, dedicated people. My presence was but a small piece in the beautiful mosaic that is Columbia. Exactly as it should be.

The Planning Board voted unanimously in favor of the Inner Arbor Plan (phases 1-7).


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