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Letter: Symphony Woods' open space should not be sacrificed for the arts

The new CA Symphony Woods plan is much, much larger than the original plan approved by the Planning Board. It has multiple theaters, three restaurants, a conference center, a possible new CA headquarters, multiple elevated walkways (about 600 feet and 1,000 feet long) and other amenities along these pathways. Don't forget the existing Toby's will be converted into about 1,750 space parking structure likely costing $25 million. The proponents of the plan said "Think Big." To some, "Think Big" means "Build Big." "Build Big" can be a forceful way to make an impact. To me, "Think Big" should mean "Think wise and long term." Make an impact that is appropriate to the area, the budget and the preservation of our scarce natural areas.

The new zoning has authorized 5,500 new residential units and millions of square feet of new office/retail space. The number of people and amount of traffic will increase. As we increase density, natural open space becomes more precious. The mall and Merriweather Post Pavilion are already big and noisy. There will be plenty of new residents who would like a simpler, natural Central Park atmosphere in which to re-create. The plan that was already approved had considerable resident input over months of display and discussion as a respite from all of the noise and bustle of downtown. The approved plan added an inviting fountain and walking paths. Natural views in that park were highlighted and designed to be an inviting haven to individuals and families. If Central Park could be a preserve in New York City, can't we preserve our limited open space areas in Symphony Woods? So much of our promised natural open space seems to be disappearing. Our citizen input and your voice are needed.

Please do not let those who are mesmerized by the glossy pictures of possible (and expensive) new attractions drive us/CA deep into debt. Fostering the arts is important, but is Symphony Woods the best location for this support, given the scarcity of natural open space?

Charles Scott

Wilde Lake

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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