CA to hold meeting on Symphony Woods plans tonight

The Columbia Association's board of directors will meet tonight to discuss whether plans for a park in downtown Columbia's Symphony Woods have changed significantly enough to warrant withdrawing permission to build on the land.

Some CA board members argue that current concepts for Symphony Woods, an undeveloped area located next to Merriweather Post Pavilion in downtown Columbia, represent too much of a departure from original ideas for the site, where plans to build a community park have long been in the works. 

Michael McCall, president of the Inner Arbor Trust -- the group charged with developing plans for Symphony Woods -- will update board members on the project at the meeting, which is open to the public. Community members will also have an opportunity to testify. 

Current designs for Symphony Woods seek to make the 36-acre plot more interactive and eye-catching, with an art gallery built of mirrors and glass, an outdoor amphitheater and "the caterpillar," a plant-covered tube that would serve as a boundary between Merriweather and the park. An earlier plan imagined building a fountain on the site. 

If the CA board decides that these concepts involve "material changes" to what was initially intended for Symphony Woods, they can vote to rescind the Inner Arbor Trust's permission to build on the land, which could send plans for the park back to square one. 

The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., and will be held at the Columbia Association's lakefront headquarters, next to Clyde's restaurant. 

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