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You Tell Us: What Would Make Towson Life Better?

Readers commenting on Patch got us wondering.

Thanks to reader  for helping us come up with this question in a

"What services and amenities would make the lives of Towson residents and residents within five miles of Towson, better?"

His question got me thinking. One of the things I hear most often when talking to people is that they want a new movie theater (which is slated as part of ). Others want a new pharmacy or want something to happen with a specific building.

In July, what you'd like to see to boost economic activity in downtown Towson. But this is less about economics and more about quality of life.

What else would you like to see in Towson? What do you think could help bring more people into Towson and improve the lives of residents and neighbors? What could officials be doing differently to attract these services and amenities?

 You tell us.

JDStuts September 29, 2011 at 02:09 PM
If the scope of the question is on residents then definitely, anything that can be done to obstruct and hinder the university will have a positive impact. As for arts, the problem is the excessive amount of unused retail space that seems prime for them is accompanied by exorbitant fees per square foot. Arts rarely pay a living wage and generally sustain through grants (which are quickly drying up.) A pottery shop or improv workshop will never be able to afford the market rates on Pennsylvania or Allegheny. To improve resident life the whole core needs to contract so the few viable properties serve as the anchor. Long term, this recession is a resetting of norms, not a rough patch. The old fall back of build it and they will come whether through new housing or movie theaters is folly propagated by developers who make their money on the front half of construction and then walk away from the long term economic impact of over priced square footage - Towson Commons. Also, more housing means more grade school students, who require more services in an area that is at max capacity in a county that is broke. Lean and mean is the future, not growth.
Bart September 29, 2011 at 02:44 PM
One thing that makes more outlying locations more attractive to people, families, etc. is parking. We'll never be able to have the amount of street level parking that a mall does, but we can make the garages more attractive. Make them well lighted and SAFE. Encourage the parking authority to give more than 2 hours free parking with a merchant's stamp. If we want to draw people to movies, we want them to stay for dinner, drinks, etc. After $25 for movie tickets, $30 for a meal, don't expect them to also pay more for parking. No matter what some feel about it, the students aren't going anywhere. Their good behavior can be cultivated. Make and embrace the University as a part of the Community. Ex President Caret made a huge mistake with his "This is Tigertown - Watch out or we'll bite you" (or something like that). That attitude set the stage for a whole lot of bad feelings with the community. TU can do a better job of inviting the community in for their events. Performing arts, Visual art showcases, sporting events. The community would like to have more cultural entertainment and sporting events available at a reasonable cost, and TU could use the tickets sold. They could rent out a storefront or 2 as art galleries. Make the areas look nice. Think Annapolis, Gettysburg. Towson has a lot of possibilities
Bart September 29, 2011 at 02:47 PM
Continued....... Sporadically, we in the community receive bulletins through the mail with notice of activities, discount coupons for events, but all too often, they arrive after the events have passed. TU could adjust that. Try and make the landlords in Towson understand that the rents must be reduced if that's the problem - half a loaf, etc. Something can work, and we now have the energy and new blood trying to improve things. Councilman Marks in the courthouse and Maravene Loeschke in the presidents suite at TU are new at their positions, and unencumbered by the old, gloomy past. It will take some fresh ideas and energy.
Ryan October 02, 2011 at 03:42 AM
As a soon-to-be resident who has visited the community twice thus far, I see great potential for Towson. Safety is a great concern, if not the primary concern, for potential new employers to set up shop, and employees to make a home in any given location. As one reader pointed out, the installation of attractive, uniform light posts throughout the city would be a good start to make people 'feel safe'. One integral factor that I see is lacking for downtown residents is Green Space. Where are the parks, tennis courts, fields, that people can walk to and unwind after a long day of work? Add parks, then don't forget housing developers will be excited about the opportunity to offer legitimate 'park view' housing. I think Towson Circle III is heading the right direction from what I've read thus far. Make it an outdoor retail spectacle, akin to what they have up in Hunt Valley. The proposed location is great to tie-in the east side of downtown.
Diana October 15, 2011 at 02:57 AM
Recycling on the streets. I definitely agree with constructing a way for college students to have a positive impact on our community. The arts are a great way to raise economic and cultural activity, not to mention the possibilities for the students to get involved. Parking is also a huge issue. I know someone who is a state employee who pays for 2 hour parking, has to re-park her car on her lunch break, and take another "parking break" (excuse my pun) later. That's absolutely ridiculous.

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