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A single word or phrase can stir completely different emotions from different groups. When I spoke with Exec. Director for the Towson Chamber Nancy Hafford and she said that she’d like to model uptown Towson after Canton I knew that this would be one of those cases.

Before reading more about this topic, it may be worth it to skim over my article in Monday’s Towerlight for some background: The future of uptown Towson
To Hafford, Canton is a fantastic place full of quaint mom and pop knickknack shops where families can come and shop during the day. The streets would be filled with mothers pushing baby carriages, sipping on one-of-a-kind coffee house brew and eating a muffin from the local bakery. There are already a few of these kinds of places in Towson. She LOVES the new coffee house, The French Press, and there are plenty of shops with the small town feel.
To students Canton means one of the hottest bar districts in the metro area is less than a mile away. That means they don’t need to hop on a sketchy bus down to power plant in order to have a good time after the sun goes down. Hafford said that she wants to let people know that “Towson comes alive after 5.” If uptown had that kind of nightlife, it surely would.
To neighbors, Canton would mean the end of their quiet, single-family communities. Canton is a place for young people getting started that want to be near the nightlife and all of the attractions city living brings. Neighbors don’t consider Towson a city. It’s a suburb where they can get away from the bustling streets. While they may embrace the small shops and enjoy the daytime strolls through a more “walkable Towson,” they still won’t feel comfortable going out at night when the TU students will surely be terrorizing York Road with drunken behavior.
Chances are coming to Towson. More than 2,000 new residents will be living in the 1,000+ units being in the next few years around the core. As Hafford told me and I wrote about in my story, in order for Towson to thrive, it needs support from the students, the community and the government workers. Driving any of the three away would result in major losses to local businesses.

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