As a young parent, I was blessed with the opportunity to spend vacations on the Island of Nantucket. During these summer trips, my family enjoyed time on Jettie's Beach (a public beach in the Nantucket Islands Land Bank) playing in the sand and reading "To Market, To Market" and "Where the Wild Things Are." While I am sure many of you don't remember these classics, they will live in my heart for ever. But, the best part of the vacation happened at sunset. The public beach was transformed into an amphitheater as hundreds of people gathered with their families to enjoy an evening of listening to the Boston Pops perform the 1812 Overture. The finale was grand as fireworks danced over the water to light the night sky, thrilling my children and forever immersing them in the arts.
And then there is Columbia. We don't have a beach, but we do have fifty plus acres in downtown Columbia known as Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods, home of the Chrysalis. The Chrysalis, a 5,000 square foot performing arts theatre, is a stunning work of futuristic urban art that soars sixty feet into the air with lawn seating. The venue has brought the "arts, culture, and community" together with children's programing that includes "Milkshake! Trio," Sonia De Los Santos, and Beat Bugs: A Musical Adventure.
And, the leadership of the Inner Arbor Trust (IAT) have become the visionaries of the park. Nina Basu, President and CEO of the IAT, collaborated with the Board of Directors to bring together a Stakeholder Advisory Committee consisting of residents and institutional stakeholders to create a unique "art park" for all ages. The Committee and the Design team were tasked with "respecting and enhancing the existing natural woodland and creek character of the park without overcrowding the park." The example below is just one example of the proposed park enhancements, but it is a shining example of a new and unique amenity to enhance the natural beauty of the park.
Preserving a treasure such as the "arts park" by CA transferring ownership into a land bank or trust could also open the door to federal, state, and private grant funding not currently available. Securing these assets for future generations, in light of possible "repeal and replace" of NT Zoning (which protects our open space) by Howard County should be a strategic priority for CA as it advances itself as a leader in environmental sustainability in Maryland.