I am writing in support of the plan to transform Symphony Woods into an arts district. I am a life-long resident of Columbia, among the first generation to call Columbia my home town. As a child, my parents took me to the petting zoo that was in Symphony Woods. Now, I live in Owen Brown with my wife and children.
This is an exciting plan, and it strikes an important balance. Putting the CA headquarters on-site provides a built-in user base for, well, every amenity in the park, from pathway to cafe. CA will enjoy the long-term benefits of owning their own building, on their own land, a building designed from the ground up for their specific needs. It also keeps CA downtown, at the center of things.
Transforming Symphony Woods into a vital, vibrant arts district is a natural fit, perfectly aligned with the founding spirit of the community. For decades Symphony Woods has suffered from having no "there" there. Other than a handful of days per year (Wine in the Woods, in particular) the park is virtually empty, just a lonely stand of trees. Parks need people, and this plan gives them a destination, a reason to make the trip.
At last, Symphony Woods will fulfill its role as a true community asset! This is an exciting plan.