Friday, January 11, 2008

Preserving The People Tree

The Flier had a curious note in a story about CA plans to to spend $1.4 million over the next two years on projects to upgrade several downtown Columbia landmarks, including the People Tree, "The Hug" statue on Lake Kittamaqundi and the boardwalk on the lake itself.

However, officials do not yet know if those plans will conflict with those of General Growth Properties Inc., which will soon release a draft of a detailed master plan to guide downtown's redevelopment over the next 30 years.

Please tell us nothing is going to happen to the People Tree!

Here's more from the Flier piece:

CA's projects are contained in the association's proposed budget for its 2009 and 2010 fiscal years, which officials released last month.

The spending plan allocates $90,000 to potentially repair the "Tree of Life," commonly known as the People Tree, which was sculpted by Pierre Du Fayet and placed on the lakefront in 1967.

The tree, which serves as the symbol of Columbia and is one of the planned community's most recognized landmarks, is made of a plastic-like material gilded in 24-karat gold and is supported by an internal steel frame. The funding is needed to study the tree's condition and to make anticipated repairs to it, CA officials said.

The budget also would spend $45,000 to renovate the sitting area around "The Hug," which depicts a man hugging a girl. The project would involve adding new seating and pavement in 2009 to make the area surrounding the statue more attractive to visitors.

Officials also want to spend $585,000 to replace the 40-year-old boardwalk and gazebo on Lake Kittamaqundi and $235,000 to replace the 40-year-old bell tower on the lake. CA hopes General Growth would match the bell tower funding.


Jessie Newburn said...

The arrogance! CA appears to my eyes to be moving along as though their actions are not part and parcel of a larger picture for downtown Columbia: a picture in which they are A (as in "one") player rather than The (as in "singular")leader.

Btw, I'm right by Hug Park Central -- or is that Central Park Hug? -- every week, on Wednesdays. The issue is not the physical area. It's the volume of people in the area. While it'd be delightful to have some food-friendly seating in Downtown Columbia, a quick review of the place shows that Lakeside already has seating as does Clyde's. Now, if the budget were to put in a small stage for acoustic concerts in that area PLUS some picnic-like seating, that'd be cool. But a facelift? Waste-o-money given the current use.

And $585k for the boardwalk area? Are they nuts? There's nothing down there but a lot of goose poo and a fake lake.

Howzabout they take some of that money and put in some high quality (!!!HIGH QUALITY!!!) public bathroom features. Now that would be money well spent. IMO, of course.

Busy Body said...

If a tree falls in the forest does anyone notice?

Astrodon Johnstoni said...

Surely they wouldn't mess with the peeps tree. That would be a shame.

Tom said...

There is still time for public comment on these projects before
the Board takes a final vote. You can do it during residents' speakout before the Planning & Strategy meetings or at the next Board meeting. Maybe the Board will listen and act accordingly.