He added: "They are going to have to give us some due deference on Merriweather. Right now, we don't feel as compelled to think about it as one neighborhood."

The Inner Arbor Trust, which is in the process of applying for 501(c)3 status, has $500,000 in funding left over from $1.6 million in seed money provided by the Columbia Association. The first $700,000 has been used during the site design phase, according to McCall.

Of the $5 million pledged by Ulman, $3.5 has been allocated to the Trust, which will be used to build the amphitheater. The amphitheater is the only project financially accounted for.

The Trust hopes to fund the majority of the project through grants and donations, but will first need to receive the nonprofit designation from the IRS, a process that could take anywhere from six to 14 months, McCall said.


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McCall said the Trust hopes to build cultural venues, like theaters, in the next five years, with the major development, like the arts village, 10 years or more down the road.

For phase one, the team is tasked with "maintaining, keeping and preserving the beauty of Symphony Woods," while "generating a public park that establishes the area," according to Schwartz.

"How do we make something that is beautiful, exciting and doesn't detract from the feeling of the park?" she said.

One such amenity, the Caterpillar, would stretch from the west-side of the park to its east-side and serve as a boundary between Merriweather and Symphony Woods. Schwartz, who created the concept, said it will be interactive and house live plant life. Portions of it can also be removed to allow access to Merriweather.

Another idea, dubbed "the picnic table,' would be between 150-feet and 200-feet long and sit between three feet and 18 inches off the ground. The table, which will act more like an elevated sitting area, will be covered in AstroTurf and form fitted around existing trees. Schwartz said it will be "a great gathering place."

A maze is also planned as an interactive play feature for children and adults. The material for the maze is undetermined, but it must be transparent because of public safety concerns. Schwartz is also behind the parks signage, which will be individual letters made out of multi-colored dichroic glass. The letters will spell out messages and can even serve as art itself, Schwartz said.

The outdoor amphitheater has been designed by architect Marc Fornes of theverymany architecture firm in New York. The amphitheater, known as the Chrysalis, will have two stages and be built into the natural grade of the hill, with the slope of the hill serving as natural stadium seating. Fornes said the challenge of the amphitheater is four-pronged with the most challenging aspect making it stand on it's own.

"Somewhere between 85 percent of the time the equipment will be empty and free of programming," he said. "It should be a large public pavilion, but very sculptural and seen more as an attraction."

Fornes added that the amphitheater, which will be colored green, white and blue in a "Cheshire cat" striped pattern, will also "kick start the development."

The guest services pavilion, known as the Butterfly building, is an X-shaped 6,000 square-foot building that will house two food vendors, an art gallery, a 2,700 square-foot teared-deck area and a 3,000 square foot rooftop deck. The pavilion, which will look onto the outdoor amphitheater, will be glass on two sides and mirrored on the other two and accessible from both Merriweather and Symphony Woods.

"Our approach is immersing the visitor into the forest," said Gabrielle Marcoux, from nARCHITECTS, the architecture firm that designed the building.

Baltimore-based landscape architecture firm Mahan and Rykiel Associates is working with Schwartz on landscaping the park. The pathways, which will be approximately six-feet wide, will be worked around existing trees. A boardwalk for a swale, which is on the eastern side of the park, also is planned.