On the Inner Arbor plan, listen to the people, not the protestors

2 minute read

There is a “silent supermajority” in Columbia in favor of the Inner Arbor plan for Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods.

Last night I went to Columbia Association headquarters for the CA board meeting that had been scheduled on very short notice to discuss the Inner Arbor plan. Due to family commitments I had to leave before the main part of the meeting, but I was able to be there long enough to participate in the “resident speak-out” and say my piece:

Good evening. My name is Frank Hecker. I’m currently a resident of Ellicott City, and I’ve been a member of various Columbia Association programs. I’ve also blogged extensively about the Inner Arbor plan, and I’m a strong supporter of it. However I’m not here tonight to talk about my thoughts on the Inner Arbor plan; you can go to frankhecker.com if you want to read those. Instead I want to talk about other peoples’ opinions of the plan.

The weekend before last I spent Saturday afternoon at the Inner Arbor Trust tent at Wine in the Woods. I had the opportunity to talk to several dozen people about the Inner Arbor plan, many of them Columbia residents, some from elsewhere in Howard County, and a few from out of the area. Every person I talked to, without exception, was enthusiastic about the plan and eager to see it come to fruition. They liked the Chrysalis amphitheater and thought it would be in a great location, right where the Wine in the Woods Purple stage was located. They thought having food and restrooms available at the Butterfly was an excellent idea, and that the building itself was very beautiful. When I explained what the Picnic Table was for they got it instantly, and thought it would be a great place to hang out during Wine in the Woods or at other times. Finally, they even understood the purpose of the Caterpillar in providing an improved entrance to Merriweather and an alternative to the current fence, and thought it very attractive.

The lesson here is that while our attention has been distracted by the views of those who are vocal opponents of the Inner Arbor plan, other Columbians and Howard County residents constitute a vast unheard supermajority who like the Inner Arbor plan and want to see it completed as soon as possible. I suggest those of you who are just listening to the small group of opponents go out and discover the depth of support that the Inner Arbor plan has from ordinary Columbians once you have their attention and they have a good chance to learn more about it. That concludes my remarks. Thank you for providing me the opportunity to speak tonight.

I saw many other supporters of the Inner Arbor plan there as well, several of whom also spoke. I hope to see others blogging about the meeting itself, as I’m curious as to what happened after I left.