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Inner Arbor plan not part of the Disney vision [Letter]

Mr. McCall and supporters of his proposed Inner Arbor Plan for Symphony Woods have made much of his affiliation with the Disney Corp. Who can refute the genius of the Disney entertainment empire with its theme parks all over the globe?

But when it came to creating Celebration, Fla., Disney's famous new town, Disney turned, not to its Imagineers, but to the most renowned architects, landscape architects and urban planners in the world. These designers ensured that Celebration would include residential neighborhoods and a downtown with shops and restaurants, outdoor dining, offices with residences above, a hotel overlooking a lovely lake, and a downtown park featuring leafy trees, sunny lawns, benches, a gazebo and bandstand.

There are dozens of landmark architectural features in Celebration, but nowhere are there any outsized Disney icons, nor 800-foot caterpillars, 300-foot picnic tables or chrysalis-shaped band shells. Disney's planners judged that novelty attractions to draw regional audiences had no place in the town of Celebration. Rather, they reasoned, a viable community needs traditional civic spaces to serve residents on a daily basis, to provide quiet respite, and to allow residents to gather for community events.

Thanks to Jim Rouse, we in Columbia also have the benefit of the wisdom and experience of world-renowned urban planners and landscape architects who, at his invitation, came here to guide the development of our downtown and its civic spaces, if only we will still heed their advice.

Eileen Tennor


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