Thursday, September 6, 2018

Everybody’s Park

Good evening. My name is Julia McCready and I live in Oakland Mills. I’m an early childhood music specialist and for the past two summers I have been donating my time and talents to facilitate children’s dance parties at the Chrysalis for preschoolers and their parents. Our last one for this season is next Saturday. I hope you’ll join us!

Today was my first day of school with thirteen four-year-olds with some very hot playground time and absolutely no rest time. I want to make it clear that there is almost nothing in this world that would motivate me to leave my home, sit through a meeting, and get up in front of people and talk when I could be at home in a bubble bath with a cold drink.

But I’m here because I want to thank Nina Basu, President of the Trust, and all of the Board Members for their time and dedication in growing and sustaining Merriweather Park in Symphony Woods and the programs it is bringing to the community. I also want to thank anyone involved with the Columbia Association, whether staff or Village Representative, who has supported the park and its mission. 

I sincerely believe that choosing to support the park and its programs is one of the most significant choices that the Columbia Association can make to remain relevant in the 21st century. I’ll tell you why. It’s clear to me that this space, which was always meant to be everybody’s park, is finally coming into its own: a place where everyone is welcome, and a place where people want to be, and want to return. 

It’s all about building better community. If we still care about building better community fifty years after our founding, we show that the core of who we are is still green with new growth.

I spend a fair amount of time in the park. On a Saturday morning when I begin the opening music for our dance parties, the stillness of the woods stirs to life. There is a kind of magic in that moment when people appear over the top of the hill and make their way down to the Chrysalis: parents with strollers, grandparents holding a toddler’s hand, children running through the grass. The magic is this: we a raising a whole new generation in Columbia who feel connected to their community, for whom the park is Home.

I am so grateful to be a part of that.

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