CA Board Approves Inner Arbor Concept Plan for Symphony Woods


The Columbia Association (CA) board of directors voted Feb. 14 to move forward with the Inner Arbor concept plan for Symphony Woods, a proposal that would potentially turn the park into more of a destination — while still respecting and even incorporating the trees that define it.

The proposal passed by an 8-2 vote, and also included establishing a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit entity that would implement the plan.

CA will now be able to begin the site development plan part (also known as steps 9 through 16) of the county government approval process for phase one of the park. CA President Phil Nelson said after the meeting that he hopes to start that part of the approval process “as soon as possible.”

As for the future phases of the Inner Arbor Plan, CA would begin at step one of the 16-part approval process, which provides numerous opportunities for public input. CA staff will be meeting with county government officials about moving forward with that, according to Nelson.

The Inner Arbor concept plan proposes several new amenities for Symphony Woods, incorporating elements intended to turn the 36-acre park into something more than a place that is barely and rarely used — excepting people walking through the park while en route to concerts at Merriweather Post Pavilion, as well as annual events such as Wine in the Woods.

New features potentially would include a dinner theater, a children’s theater, a ballroom venue, an iconic sculpture, a treehouse amphitheater, an elevated tree canopy walk, a sculpture garden, a restaurant and cafes, a fountain plaza, meandering paths and CA headquarters.

A 1,750-space parking garage would be nearby, outside of the park where Toby’s Dinner Theatre is presently located.

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