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Towson Swim Club proposal sinks after failed membership drive

Members of the Towson Swim Club, proposed for the corner of Bosley Avenue and Towsontown Boulevard, said Wednesday that the project is officially dead.

Board member Josh Glikin told the Towson Times that the board terminated the project at its meeting Tuesday night, March 6, after reviewing the results of a February membership drive and a discussion of future options.

"Our stated goal was 135 new members in February," Glikin said. "We did not reach that goal. We got about a third of it.

"We ultimately decided that because we couldn't reach that goal, we couldn't satisfy the bank loan conditions," he said.

"The vote wasn't unanimous, but the motion to terminate the project carried."

Planned for a 1.8-acre tract on the busy Bosley-Towsontown corner, the privately-funded swim club would have been located on land leased from Baltimore County, but ultimately the financial support from the community was not there to push the project forward.

The board conducted a membership drive to reach 315 total paid members by Feb. 29 — required as a condition for the loan offers they had received.

Officials said the deadline was also needed to meet a Memorial Day 2013 target for opening, because engineers would have to begin work at the site in March to submit plans to the state for final approval.

Glikin said the drive ultimately brought the number to about 220 total members.

Another extension was possible, Glikin said, but given the amount of time and effort that February's drive had taken, as well as the results of that labor, the board decided to decline that option.

"We sent a note out to the members today saying that it breaks our hearts, but it was the right thing to do," he said.

Glikin said that, to date, all of the money spent on the project has been the board members' money, and all membership fees paid had been put in an escrow account with the promise that it would not be spent until the project moved forward.

Glikin said repayment would not be immediate, but that the board had begun the process of closing accounts and settling its affairs.

Fifth District County Councilman David Marks, who represents Towson, last week had said that if the county offered another extension, it would likely be the last.

"I'm starting to get more and more phone calls from people wondering when the extensions are going to end," he said last week.

On Wednesday, Marks expressed sympathies for those who had worked hard to make the club a reality.

"I think, as someone who has been active in a number of community projects, any time the work on something like this doesn't succeed, it must be profoundly disappointing," Marks said.

"We were able to get extensions for the project, but ultimately, I think it's just a victim of the economy," he said. "They had a lot of momentum going into 2008 and 2009, and that's when the economy just collapsed. Right now, what's there (on the property) will remain there."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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