Consultant to deliver analysis on Symphony Woods

May 26, 1994|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Sun Staff Writer

A land planning consultant is to give the Columbia Council recommendations tonight on how to preserve Symphony Woods while increasing use of the 40-acre park.

An LDR International representative also will outline constraints to development of the site at Town Center's southern edge and the results of an survey of Columbia households.

"We've done analysis on the basics they need to take care of, regardless of what they want to do as far as other activities," said Charlie Bailey, a senior associate with Columbia-based LDR. "If they want to do other activities, we can tell them where they logically should occur, based on whether they're passive or active."

The council will meet at 8 p.m. at the Columbia Association Building, 10221 Wincopin Circle.

The survey listed 12 options for Columbia's central park: gardens, paths, exercise stations, picnic areas, seasonal concession stands, arboretum, wildflower meadow, outdoor ice rink, sledding hill, fishing pond, sculpture and fountains.

Mr. Bailey said responses "pretty overwhelmingly favored more passive activities" such as gardens, paths and wildflower meadows. However, an ice rink received some support, he said. Comments on the survey also urged that trees not be destroyed and commotion be kept to a minimum, he said.

The survey was distributed before LDR's analysis. Several options might be impractical, Mr. Bailey said.

At a March town meeting on the Symphony Woods study, Hickory Ridge village resident Rob Cowan criticized the survey because it didn't list "do nothing" as an option. "Do we need to do this?" he asked. "I'm concerned about Columbia's debt, and this is coming out of my pockets."

Mr. Bailey responded that some trees in the park are dying and, at the least, preservation measures should be taken.

The 10-member council, the Columbia Association's board of directors, commissioned the $22,000 study last year to develop a master plan for Symphony Woods, which contains the 12-acre Merriweather Post Pavilion and is bordered by Little Patuxent and Broken Land parkways and South Entrance Road.

The association, which maintains Columbia's open spaces, owns Symphony Woods, and the Rouse Co. owns Merriweather. The area surrounding the woods is planned for high-density residential, office and commercial development.

The council also plans to schedule a community meeting with LDR staff members but no date has been set.

Councilwoman Suzanne Waller, Town Center's representative, said she's open to ideas, but adds she's "very concerned about preservation of the environment."

Mr. Bailey said the health of some forest stands in the park is declining. Because much of the park is maintained as lawn and leaves are removed, there is no natural forest regeneration, he said.

Also, the association should consider a management plan that addresses parking and walking routes, Mr. Bailey said. Pedestrian movements are causing some erosion and damage to trees, he said.

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