Wednesday, September 5, 2018

A Question about a Park

There’s an open meeting of the Inner Arbor Trust tonight at Columbia’s Association headquarters. I’ll be there.  I’m hoping for a vast improvement in the behavior of certain CA Board members who have done nothing but try to undercut and sabotage plans for Merriweather Park in Symphony Woods, and harangue and insult the president of the Trust, Nina Basu.

This year’s season at the Chrysalis has been wildly successful, and it isn’t even over yet. So many people are coming out to events and enjoying the park. It is truly becoming a beloved community space in Columbia/Howard County.

I’ll probably prepare something to say this evening. I usually do. Or maybe I’ll just ask the CA Board members a question: How many events have you attended in the Park this summer? And, if you haven’t attended any, how can you be in a position to have an educated opinion about the Park and it’s future? How can you know if it is fulfilling its mission if you haven’t taken the time to see the Park in action?

In case you ( or the CA Board members) are interested in upcoming events, here’s the link to the Inner Arbor Trust. And here’s what I said at last year’s Open Meeting.

Come Rain or Come Shine (August 8, 2017)

I am grateful to have had to opportunity to speak at last night's open meeting of the Inner Arbor Trust. Sadly disappointed with some members of the CA Board for their arrogant and rude behavior. Anyone who has the gall to say to NinaBasu, "I don't think you've thought any of this out," really doesn't have the sense God gave a grasshopper.

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. 

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