Saturday, July 10, 2021


Recently I saw someone ask online if they could bring visual aids to accompany their remarks in front in the Columbia Association board. It brought to mind the time I whipped out a rather large sign on which were written two words: I’m back.

I'm here tonight because on May 28, 2014 I stood in this very spot and said, "I have attended multiple CA Board meetings to speak in support of this park. I will keep coming back as often as necessary, and I am not alone."

And so I must begin with these words. I'm back.

What park? This park.  Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods: home to the Chrysalis, site of some very cool environmental projects this summer, host of happy hours and free yoga (this Thursday!) and where you can find some of the artsiest picnic tables in town. 

That park.

For many local folks it’s just the Chrysalis. It is a notable landmark, after all. At its opening cartoonist  Mike Ricigliano honored it with some humorous suggestions on how to mark the occasion.

If Columbia is known for having any kind of “skyline”, the Chrysalis has quickly become a part of it. A few seasons ago the Downtown Columbia Partnership created this image to promote Winter/holiday events around town

And just the other day the Columbia Association posted a promotional item on Instagram about its free yoga classes.

Through free and low-cost arts programming and a variety of community events, Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods is getting the word out that Columbia has a park for the people and all are welcome. The Chrysalis, once the target of outrage and derision by local armchair critics, is becoming more and more a part of the community landscape every year. 

It wasn’t meant to “blend in” in the way that our venerable tot lots disappear into the natural setting of Columbia’s pathways. But then Columbia itself wasn’t meant to blend in. At its creation it stood for something new and beautiful and, let’s face it, challenging. 

Rather like the park, I think.

Coming up this week:

Thursday, July 15th

Happy Hour, 5-7 pm, featuring Holly Montgomery plus yoga class at the Chrysalis, admission free. Learn more here.

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