Howard County Blog

A Blog on what is going on in Howard County

Thursday, September 17, 2009

CA's Proposed Design Plan for Symphony Woods PARK


The proposed concept plan begins the evolution of Symphony Woods into Symphony Woods Park. The goal for this plan is to develop the site into an attractive setting for public recreation and community events while protecting and enhancing the site's natural features. This proposed park will be a bold gateway to the woods and the Pavilion, and for the first time, a year round destination as a park.


The central focal point for the park will be a plaza to include an interactive water feature and a small café with restrooms. Green technologies will be used in the design of these structures. A place to play, relax and watch people, the park will become a destination that enhances the lives of those living and working in Columbia. Three other activity areas are proposed: a children's play area, sculptures, and future park related uses.

A bold circular walk tucked inside the woodland setting is designed to establish a 'sense of place' and provide for pedestrian circulation. This walk will define the natural topographic bowl and reinforce the visual axis connecting Town Center with the Pavilion. The center of the circle, with a modest amount of tree thinning, will be a special outdoor room for the community to gather.

More intensive activities will be located around the outside of the circle and its center will be left open for passive use. A boardwalk on the eastern side of the circle will allow natural storm water drainage and ensure that the walk will meet accessibility standards by not exceeding a 5% grade. The boardwalk will also minimize re-grading which is detrimental to tree roots.


Parking on the western edge of the park will ensure easy access for park users. The 120-space parking lot and some of the activity areas on the periphery of the circular walkway will support community events, minimizing compaction of existing tree roots. Many new trees will be planted for the park to replace those removed in park construction or due to decline. They will be located to provide shade and aesthetic appeal as well as to provide habitat and to absorb storm water.

A 'Woodland Garden' located in the eastern section of the park will showcase a variety of native and woodland plants. This special garden will be a destination by its own merits and will add to the experience of visitors to Symphony Woods Park. The Woodland Garden will link to the walkway system encircling the Pavilion grounds and to Columbia's pathways. Park visitors will be able to walk one mile by completing a loop around the pavilion.

A special gathering place for the people of Columbia and Howard County, Symphony Woods Park will add life and vitality to Columbia's Town Center. The concept for the proposed park establishes a definitive plan based upon a program of family-oriented recreation activities.

The measure of any great civilization is in its cities, and the measure of a city's greatness is to be found in the quality of its public spaces, its parks and squares.
John Ruskin


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