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Community Leaders Mulling Towson Square Impact

Discussions have started to determine how to manage crowds in the area.

Towson Square isn't set to open until 2014, but community leaders are already anticipating the crowds the retail center is expected to attract.

Councilman David Marks said he's currently in talks with county traffic engineers about accommodating the additional traffic the center will bring to the area, and police officials about increased security.

"These are ongoing discussions," Marks said.

Towson Square, an $85 million project that is being developed as a partnership between commercial real estate developers Cordish Cos. and Heritage Properties, will include a movie theater, restaurants and an 862-space Baltimore County Revenue Authority garage. Construction for the center began in recent months. 

The developers did not return multiple calls for comment on how they're planning to deal with the crowds internally.

Marks also noted that the center underscored the importance of turning downtown Towson into business improvement district, an idea he first floated in June 2011. A county council resolution would need to be passed for the designation to become official.

If a resolution does go through, business owners in the area may be required to pay additional fees for services such as security, street cleaning and events. Marks cited Rockville and Bethesda as models.

"Ultimately, I think this is the direction [the area] needs to move in," he said.

Nancy Hafford, executive director of the Towson Chamber of Commerce, said she's interested in hearing more information about the proposed district, but is concerned about the economic impact to local business owners.

"With this economy, some business owners are struggling to stay open and to put a monkey on their back and ask them to pay for something else may be too much," she said.

Despite violence erupting among crowds outside Recher Theatre late-September, Hafford isn't too concerned that a similar incident will occur with the opening of Towson Square.

"We've got to make sure the ducks are in line," she said. "But I think it'll be a great addition to the business community."

David Kosak, president of the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations, is similarly cautiously optimistic about the retail center. He said the council's primary concern is managing traffic flow in the area. 

"Recher was an isolated incident, an unexpected fluke," he said. "But it did show that we need to have the proper resources in place. We need to take a proactive approach not a reactive one."

Jilly October 23, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Tom, in case you hadn't noticed, no one takes your rants seriously anymore now that you've revealed yourself to be a narcissitic, misogynistic, vindictive arse. The jig is up. Get a life. We plan on happily enjoying the Senator.
Balt Observer October 23, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Still with your sour grapes over the success that the Cusacks are now having that you never came close to, eh Kiefaber? It must be a bitter pill to swallow. So bitter to drive a sour man to attempt to wreck his family's legacy. As with everything you undertake, though, you will fail Kiefaber.
Tom Kiefaber October 23, 2012 at 09:52 PM
DCMercle, Re: The Rechers I respect them and all that they have invested and achieved at the former Towson Theatre. The youth entertainment market & regional point of destination venues have changed, however, as evidenced by the some recent difficulties that have cropped up. They may be planning to press full-stream ahead, and if they are, more power to them. What I note, however is that there is no sit-down facility that you envision, and I agree there's a market for it. It's the direction we're were attempting to take The Senator through the community based, non-profit approach when the BDC instead decided they didn't like the *multi-cultural*, multipurpose film and live music performance venue direction we were heading. As we were once headed in an enhanced, expanded programming direction at The Senator that wasn't well known, so may the Rechers, & you won't know till you ask. There are patterns of uses of historic theatres that turn a corner, particularly when a youth-oriented policy becomes more and more challenging as the owners are aging. The theatre facility is there with well done adjacent improvements that could well be converted to the sit down, entertainment amenity for grownups you cite. It would require a full scale refurbishment etc., which may only be cost effective with a non-profit status of some sort. The Recher's may be ready to sell or long-term lease to a non-profit entity which could raise the funds required to fit it out for its next incarnation.
Jilly October 24, 2012 at 11:11 PM
blah blah blah...The Senator...blah blah blah...ME Tom . . . blah blah blah...The Senator ..... Folks, pay no attention to the babbling loony tune taking over your discussions. He drove a movie theatre into the ground, ran a delusional campaign for city council, and will soon likely be a convicted criminal after his trial in November.
Lisa Mathias January 16, 2013 at 04:24 PM
Where is this suburban flight to Hunt Valley that you are talking about? The inventory of properties for sale in the Towson neighborhood is the lowest in 17 years. Our schools are overcrowded. People are not fleeing the area. In fact the demand is still quite high.

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