Project Description

Client/Builder/Developer:  Inner Arbor Trust
LocationColumbia, Howard County, Maryland
Market: Recreation, Public Sector
Size16.8 acres
Zoning: Downtown Columbia, Merriweather-Symphony Woods Neighborhood

The Challenges

Merriweather Park is a multi-phased recreational park redeveloped to activate an existing semi-urban passive recreation area.  The park has excellent access being located adjacent to an existing major roadway, Little Patuxent Parkway and near a major highway, US Route 29.  Design challenges for GLW engineers included limiting impacts of development to an adjacent stream and stream buffers preserving the extensive tree canopy, and addressing handicap access throughout the park.

The Solution

GLW has extensive knowledge of the Downtown Columbia Site Development Plan process and was brought in to provide engineering and surveying services.  The park’s redevelopment was planned to increase active and passive recreational opportunities for a variety of non-programmed and programmed events and activities.  Connectivity to the Park from adjacent neighborhoods was provided by sidewalks suitable for pedestrians and bicycles.  To address tree preservation and stay out of stream buffers, site grading was very limited and required careful planning.  Grading was accomplished by identifying and avoiding critical zones without trees and critical root zones, root pruning as necessary and placing paths and drives on existing grade where possible.

Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods will offer the following:

  • 78% of the Park is made up of restored streams, forest and lawn.
  • 94% of the Park is pervious, handling stormwater as nature intended.
  • The Park, at full buildout, will offer two miles of walkable surfaces, suitable for walkers, stroller pushers, joggers and cyclists to enjoy.
  • Ample seating for 2,000 people will be available throughout the Park in 74 different locations.
  • A 1,835 foot long boardwalk will make portions of the park accessible from the Park’s entrance across the street from Howard County’s main library at full buildout.
  • Of the 473 trees on site, 31 will be removed at ultimate buildout for safety reasons and development conflicts. Another 200 new trees will be planted throughout the Park to restore the forest.