Letter: CA should move on Paumier's plan for Symphony Woods

Councilmembers Ball and Sigaty provide excellent reasons why we should be in favor of a plan for improving Symphony Woods ("CA's Inner Arbor Plan is 'bold vision' for Symphony Woods," Letters, Jan. 31). Unfortunately, the plan they favor fails to provide almost all of the elements to which they refer, while the currently approved plan for Symphony Woods does.

They mention the need for "walkability" in our new downtown. Yet the "Inner Arbor Plan" (IAP) removes three points of walkable connection from the woods across LPP to the rest of downtown that are provided in the Paumier Plan and requires patrons to drive to a parking structure and walk up to 1,000 feet on a steep slope to get to the amenities it provides.

They mention "sprawling grass for picnics and relaxation," which the Paumier Plan provides, while the IAP leaves the woods virtually untouched as a forest in which little grass can grow.

They mention the need for our central park to be a "central area for civic engagement and discourse," which the Paumier Plan provides through its fountain, wide pathways, grassy areas and cafe. The IAP, however, according to Ball and Sigaty, will accomplish this by providing "a 30,000-square-foot office building," hardly a platform for civic discourse and engagement.

And, as is true with most of the IAP's proponents, they fail entirely to mention how much it will cost, which appears to be upwards of $50-100 million, compared to the $1.6 million to get the Paumier Plan well underway.

The most reasonable solution is for CA to go ahead with phase 1 of the Paumier Plan. At the same time, those in favor of the IAP can start a trust and work toward funding it.

The people of Columbia and Howard County have worked for over two years to get CA moving on the Paumier Plan. The time for delay is over.

Alan Klein

Spokesperson, the Coalition for Columbia's Downtown

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