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Tag Archives: Towson Times

Attendance for the Towsontown Spring Festival last weekend was less than a third of what it was the year before. The Towson Times is reporting that only 70,000 people turned out for this year’s street fair, which was flooded by constantly and steady rain.

Last year, the largest annual outdoor event in Towson drew more than 250,000 people. Last year, the second day of the event drew 100,000 people alone. This year, it was just 10 percent of that total: only 10,000 people braved the rain.

This was a shocking total to me. I figured that while attendance would be down, such a steep drop wouldn’t occur. Towson loves this festival so much that I assumed they’d throw on a poncho, strap on the rain boots and grab a umbrella in order to go out for a pit beef sandwich or a corndog. The last week has been miserable for weather. Of course, as I look out the window now, the sun is shining just to spite this post.


What do big greasy cheeseburgers cause? Obesity? Diabetes? Traffic? Wait, hold on a second. One of these doesn’t fit.

In standard practice, a member of the Towson community has decided that it’s time to stop progress. Progress may be the wrong word, because after eating a delicious Five Guys double cheeseburger with small fries, I don’t feel like moving forward. I feel like lying down and sleeping for a week. But that’s not the point. Nancy Pivec is trying to stop all of those burger joints from coming into Towson.

Her reason? Five Guys, and Burger King are going to bring “nMmmmm... Five Guysoise, traffic and trash” to York Road accordig to the Towson Times. What!?!? Maybe if York Road planners were concerned with noise and traffic, they wouldn’t have brought an on ramp to I-695 to Towson’s main drag. But that’s been there for decades. So it’s not like these weren’t worries along York.

And how are fast food joints going to increase trash? York Road is littered (pun intended) with plenty of eateries.

All of this really makes me wonder just how bad people in Towson really think they have it. If the biggest concerns this town has is a thriving major state institution and too many burger joints, then Towson may truly be Baltimore’s Utopia.

A few weeks ago I talked to Nancy Hafford from the Towson Chamber about the influx of new faces coming into the Towson are and how the business community would respond. Most thought that it was just students that would be flooding Towson and filling up the new apartment complexes. As a “seasoned” news reporter I should have known that this was not the case. As any area news monger worth a darn knows that anything somehow involves BRAC.

The Base Realignment that will bring thousands to work in Harford County around the Aberdeen Proving Grounds will also bring many to Northern Baltimore County. For those white collar members of BRAC that wish to be a little closer to a city feel would love Towson. Its right by 695 for a short trip up into Harford County and it’s halfway from work toward downtown Baltimore.

The Towson Times wrote this week about a bus trip of potential newcomers that was shown around Towson. According to the article, many of the short-term employees may maintain their homes in New Jersey, but live during the week in apartments only to commute back to the Garden State for weekends to see family.

While these workers would be ideal for the buildings renting out apartments, it isn’t exactly what the business community would want, I imagine. These types are not likely to stay for the weekend and spend money. Neighborhood leaders also would surely prefer families that get involved in communities and better the area.

Of course, I’m sure anything would be better than a student living in the house.

Rumor has it that the recession and the continued collapse of the newspaper industry has hit Towson. Patuxent Publishing, a Tribune Company corporation and mother company for all of the ‘Times’ papers in Baltimore County, already closed its office in Towson. Reporter, photographers, etc., all now work from home. They send their copy to editors in a single location for all the ‘Times’ papers instead of an individual editor for a singular publication.

This saves money on space and personnel. Too bad it destroys the small-town feel of the papers and inhibits community members’ attachment and access to the publication. But that’s not important. Clearly, by making the paper LESS personal it will drive revenue. You know what else will drive revenue? How about making Towson Times monthly? That wasn’t a snarky remark you have become accustomed to if you are a regular Town & Gown reader.

That’s the rumor rolling around. The Towson Times as a monthly publication would just about destroy the paper entirely. Unless it embraced an entire magazine format, which I highly doubt is the case, it will simply be the weekly Towson Times put out once a month. While this may improve the overall profit per issue ratio, it doesn’t mean that they will have enough money to pay writers, photographers or editors. The numbers will drop, meaning the quality of the paper will drop, and then the readers will just ignore it all together. Why do newspapers seem to think that the best way to increase profits is by hurting the quality of the paper?

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