Inner Arbor presentation long on credentials, short on details [Letter]

Speeches, slides and introductions at the Horowitz Center on Nov. 18 were long on the five-firm "Dream Team's" credentials as "Unabashed Designers of Delight" [per the Trust's handout] — with slides of buildings, rooftop parks, unusual landscape sculptures and constructions worldwide and accompanied by GMAP (God-Mother-Apple-Pie) aspirations to join people-nature-beauty together. Much of this reminded me of marketing efforts by a lead character in the current Masterpiece Theatre PBS show, "Paradise," as he develops and pitches ideas for a new, all-service department store to meet women's needs in 19th-century London.

But the Design Team's two-hour presentation gave short shrift to whatever they may have told the Trust about ideas for a "park for Columbia" and to their understanding of the "Inner Arbor concept" that led the Board (whose meetings are not open to the public) to choose these firms from among other equally well-qualified applicants.

As CA lien payers/Howard County tax payers, whose money will finance the Inner Arbor project and "Unabashed Designers of Delight" to the tune of over $6 million, we deserve for the Trust and Team to quickly spell out why they are here and their preliminary understanding of their specific mission for Columbia — not just what they have done in London, New York City, China, France, Beirut and Taiwan.

I trust the Dec. 2 presentation of the project plan will have more nutritious substance. Despite delicious appetizers and desserts in the lobby, I left the session still feeling very hungry.

Steve Sternheime


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