It appears that much of the skepticism with the Symphony Woods Inner Arbor plan, brought to light by Columbia resident Michael McCall and introduced by CA, is more about process and hurt feelings than the actual plan. Utilizing a theme creatively embracing the arts, the Inner Arbor plan is a big concept in a town where development is based on careful small steps often kept in check by a vocal minority. While issues may be within some facets of the new plan as currently envisioned, the largeness of the concept has created the conversation needed. Much of that opinion however appears to be about the process, CA and prior plans instead of this plan's potential to help invigorate a downtown currently ill-defined by a large mall and a sleepy lakefront.
One has to wonder how this plan would be received if it were championed and submitted by another organization. Is much of the gnashing of teeth more to do with opinions of CA and the process? Are we overlooking a plan which highlights Columbia's rich history of celebrating the arts that could be a catalyst for the evolution needed downtown?
Small steps protecting woods which function solely as a curtain for a part-time amphitheater may be a missed opportunity which should not be derailed out the gate by reliving past battles and process debates. Even in a city where debate on development is a sport, should we shoot the messenger or actually read the plan?
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