"Some people may disagree with me, but I think Jim would say this is terrific," he said. "Not to say that (the previous plan developed by Cy Paumier) was a bad plan; this plan adds another dimension to what goes on at Symphony Woods Park."

Some have drawn lines in the sand between the Inner Arbor Plan and Paumier's plan, which called for the development of a large fountain in the northern section of the park.

McCall and Paumier do not see it that way, however.

For McCall, the two plans offer two separate answers to two different questions.

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"That big idea was connecting Symphony Woods to the Mall because all future life was going to radiate from the Mall, and it's not without merit," McCall said. "(The Paumier Plan) is a good answer to that challenge, but I don't see that as the challenge.

"I see Symphony Woods as a magical environment," he said. "No one considered Symphony Woods could be a destination in and of itself in any significant way."

Paumier, a veteran park architect and former Rouse Co. employee, sees the Inner Arbor as a complement to his plan, and has requested that the CA board combine the two plans.

"We've been supporting the idea of a cultural arts district. Our argument is, you need a first-class park as a gateway to this entire district," Paumier said. "It's not an either/or, you need both."

Paumier is holding out hope that the plans can be matched up and that his proposed 8- to 10-acre park, which sits on land left relatively undisturbed by the Inner Arbor Plan, can come to fruition.

McCall says there are "good planning" reasons not to combine the plans, the foremost being that the Howard County Planning Board ruled a revision to Paumier's plan be submitted that removed fewer trees.

While the park, as it is designed by McCall, is years away from opening, the first steps have begun to make the Inner Arbor Plan a reality.

The CA board will begin setting up the Inner Arbor Trust, a 501(c)(3) organization that will manage the development of the park, at its March 14 meeting. Meanwhile, members of CA staff are preparing site development and final development plans that will be submitted to the County Planning Board for the three development phases of the park.

Funding for the park is still being solidified, although it is expected that the trust, which will be capable of generating money through grants and donations; the CA; and either the county government or Howard Hughes Corp., which owns Merriweather Post Pavilion, will split the bill.

Dear Walt Disney

Before McCall launched a letter-writing campaign to Rouse in his mid-20's, an even younger McCall tried to get the attention of another innovator, Walt Disney.

"When I was 12, Walt Disney was on the cover of National Geographic," McCall said. "I wrote a letter. ... I had ideas for him."

McCall said his obsession with creative spaces dates back even further, to when he was a young boy growing up in Rochester, Minn.

Every Christmas growing up, McCall would visit a local Minnesota department store's interactive window display.

"As a little kid, this was magical. The idea of spaces and experiences intrigued me," McCall said.

After graduating with a degree in economics from St. Cloud State University, McCall took a job as the assistant to the chairman and founder of Wilson Learning Worldwide.