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New GTC director excited about future of Towson

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The Greater Towson Committee's new executive director couldn't be happier with the direction her hometown is heading.

"I just think (Towson) is always continuing to grow and always continuing to change," Katie Chasney Pinheiro, the newly appointed executive director, said. "It always seems to be getting bigger and better."

Pinheiro's first day in charge of the GTC, an organization that focuses on development opportunities in the Towson area, was April 8. Though she's new to the group, Pinheiro took over at a time when many of the projects the GTC worked on for years finally have become a reality.

Most recently, a residential-commercial development was announced for the Towson Triangle between Starbucks and Jiffy Lube, and just a week before her appointment, Baltimore County announced that LA Fitness would be taking over the movie theater space in Towson Commons.

"When I was in high school, Towson Commons was huge," Pinheiro, 32, said. "It's nice to see Towson Commons coming back."

Though she now lives in Homeland, Pinheiro said the largest development on the horizon, Towson Square, has the potential to benefit residents all over the area.

"I think Towson Square, with the restaurants and 16-theater Cineplex totally makes sense," she said. "People in Towson and the surrounding areas — even in Homeland where I live — the choices that we have (for entertainment) are sort of limited. We either go downtown or we go to Hunt Valley, so Towson works. You want to come to Towson.

"I think the developers and politicians are seeing that there's a need, and they're filling that need," she said.

Pinheiro, a mother of two, worked for the mortgage company United Equity in Towson before her son, Chase, now 5. was born. Since then, she's worked part-time while taking care of Chase and her daughter, Ryan, 3.

Pinheiro said she would make up for what she lacks in professional experience with development issues, with her knowledge of the area and her desire to see Towson grow and succeed.

Jim Railey, president of the GTC board, said Pinheiro's investment in the community and the energy she has already shown on the job made her stand out among the applicants for the position.

Railey said he hopes for Pinheiro to grow into the face of the organization, in the same way Nancy Hafford is to the Towson Chamber of Commerce and former GTC Executive Director Cindy Bledsoe was to that group.

Bledsoe stepped down in June 2012, and was replaced by Pauline Harris — Pinheiro's predecessor.

Hafford is just one of the community leaders Pinheiro said she has been introduced to but will relish the opportunity to work with and get to know better.

"We may not always agree because we may all have different goals, but I think it's important that we respect each other and we all sit at the table and decide what is best for Towson," Pinheiro said. "That's what we're all here for."

"The Greater Towson Committee comes to Towson and the growth of Towson from a different perspective from the Towson Chamber of Commerce or the (Greater Towson Council of Community Associations," Railey said. "I think we all have to work together to make Towson what we want it to be, which is a great place to live, work and play."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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