Thursday, May 15, 2014

Symphony Woods Shenanigans or Finding Columbia's "Black Helicopter" Crowd

Today, I received a note from Town Center with a letter advocating against the inclusion of monies in the County Executive's budget for the Inner Arbor Trust. Needless to say, as readers of this blog well know, I was a *bit* upset. So, I figured I'd write a letter to said County Executive & my County Council member.

I'm having difficulty posting the Board letter on here, but my spray painting comment is aimed at the following sentence in their request: "Our Board also questions the awarding of taxpayer dollars to an organization...which has tried to restrict use of Symphony Woods to a group of Columbians who gathered to understand the various plans for the Woods..." This "group" acted like teenagers in their reckless disregard of private property. And understanding the various plans? No, saying why the Inner Arbor is horrible & telling lies about everyone involved.

Dear Ms. Sigaty & Mr. Ulman,

Please note all opinions expressed are my own.

As you may know, the Columbia Village elections were hardly representative of the electorate. I did vote & my candidate lost for the Columbia Board.

I live in Warfield Triangle & Symphony Woods is my neighborhood. I moved here in 2003, hoping for progress & a walkable downtown where I could raise my family. When I saw Cy Paumier’s initial plans for the SW area, my reaction was “Really? It’s hardly an improvement on what’s there now.” When I saw that his plans had been scrapped for the Inner Arbor plan, I was excited! Finally, there was a vision that was outside the box.

Prior to the vote, I attended a rally that purported to demonstrate the two versions of plans for Symphony Woods. The sponsors, Cy Paumier & Alan Klein, had spray painted grass and stapled signs to trees throughout the park. I believe they did not obtain the necessary liability insurance & if someone had tripped on a tree root, Columbia Assocation/Inner Arbor Trust would have been liable.

Beyond all of this, though, was the lies & misrepresentations they made about the Inner Arbor plan. They indicated their express desire for the Inner Arbor plan to fail. Some of the elements have never been done before.

But isn’t Columbia about innovation? Their arguments against the Inner Arbor demonstrate fear of change. I’ve only lived for 17 years. If you look at the pictures of the people who attended the rally, they are not raising families anymore.

While Columbia’s villages may be governed by a small electorate determined to hold on to the 1970 vision of Columbia, please realize that my fellow elementary school parents do not feel this way. We see Symphony Woods as a wasted space only used for Wine in the Woods for 3 days/year.

Giving Columbia a bustling town center is crucial to the health of Howard County. Please keep your budgeted allocation for this worthy, exciting opportunity for our city & county. I believe I can count on your continued support on this project as you have both been advocates for it.

Thank you for your time.

Kirsten Coombs
Town Center

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