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Photo by Patrick Smith, courtesy of Towson Times

Photo by Patrick Smith, courtesy of Towson Times

What would you do if we grabbed a bite to eat a McDonalds. I got a Big Mac, you got a 10-piece chicken McNugget meal. I finished eating and you still have a few nuggets left after devouring all of those delicious fries. You say “I’m going to eat these later.” Then I reach over, grab one and shove it in my mouth. “What? It’s not like you were using it.”

Keep that parable in mind here.

The ink has long dried on the memorandum of understanding between Rodgers Forge and Towson University regarding the plans for the new arena expansion off of the Towson Center, but problems haven’t ended. In an article by Loni Ingraham in the Towson Times this week, the property line where Towson agreed to erect an impenetrable fence at the request of RF is being disputed.

Read Loni’s story and forumulate your own opinion, please, but I can’t help but be a bit confused by the whole situation. As a quick synopsis, Rodgers Forge families have been accessorizing their backyards for years, one of which has been turned into a small community park.

The catch, they were building on University property.

Now, once again, the University is the big bad guy coming in to destroy their beloved park. Maybe before they dropped $20k on the landscaping and such they should have been good neighbors, contacted the University, held several public meetings, talked to their legislators, have closed door meetings, negotiate an agreement and sign an MOU.

I really don’t understand how RF can be upset with Towson for doing what they were instructed to: build a fence. And I can’t comprehend out it’s the University’s fault that RF residents built on their property.

There’s a solution, though. For PR purposes, Towson can’t demolish their park. While it is it bit ridiculous that RF is upset at Towson wanting to use the land that they own, it’s hard to change their minds. They have emotions (and cash) invested in the land. Since Towson isn’t using the land, and since signing the MOU nothing will be built there either, offer to sell the strip of land at a below-market rate to the Rodgers Forge Community Association. Then, invest the money spent on the property into Town & Gown initiatives be it community clean ups or grants to BCPD for an increased presence late on party nights.

Now, I’m sure there are major snags here since it’s state property. If Towson was a private college, they’d have the rights to sell the land, but that’s not the case. This would have to go through years of paperwork from the USM and maybe even the General Assembly. At the same time, Towson may be under state pressure to not allow the neighbors to use the land and take back their property line. If the University turned over rights to the land through some handshake understanding, they could be in hot water with the USM.

Maybe everybody should just keep their hands off your chicken McNuggets

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