Towson leaders hope Tigerfest issues decrease again this year

Towson community leaders have seen a decease in community disturbances related to Towson University's annual Tigerfest in recent years, and hope that trend continues when the annual end-of-year celebration takes over campus this weekend.

Paul Hartman, president of the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations, said Wednesday that changes to the Tigerfest schedule, including moving the concert to Friday night, and increased police patrols have helped improve the event from the community's standpoint.

"We're not expecting any serious problems because we feel the university has addressed those issues," Hartman said. "We're on the lookout for problems, but we're not expecting huge disturbances."

This year's Tigerfest, Towson's annual spring concert, is being headlined by the rapper Wiz Khalifa. The event begins Friday, April 19 at 3:30 p.m. at Johnny Unitas Stadium.

In 2012, Baltimore County Police said 23 citations were issued in incidents related to Tigerfest, though no arrests were made. That number was down from 42 criminal or civil citations issued in 2011.

"The last two years have been pretty quiet compared to previous years," Hartman said.

Capt. Jonathan Trentzsch, commander of the Towson precinct, said a total of four supervisors and 26 officers will be assigned to Tigerfest, with the supervisors split between a day shift and a night shift and 15 officers working from 3 p.m. Friday until 3 a.m. Saturday.

Trentzsch said the department frequently works with Towson University Chief of Police Bernie Gerst, and will go on campus to assist TU officers if necessary.

"Our guys are basically patrolling all the hotspots where we know kids live off campus, like Donnybrook, Cardiff, Burkleigh Square," Trentzsch said.

Because of the improvements last year, Trentzsch said he has heard far less from the community about the event than in years past.

Should community members experience problems during the event, Hartman said a university representative will be manning the Towson University Lifeline, for the entire night. Complaints can be registered by calling 410-704-LIFE(5433).

When the dust settles on Saturday morning after Tigerfest, however, the at-times adversarial relationship between the community and students will become one of a unified goal to clean up downtown Towson and its surrounding neighborhoods during the Towson Chamber of Commerce's annual spring clean-up event.

"Even though they're having the big festival Friday, we're going to have hundreds of students coming in," Nancy Hafford, executive director of the Towson Chamber of Commerce, said.

Hafford said 500 students are expected for the event, during which Towson residents, business owners and students will join forces to get rid of debris, plant flowers and landscape.

"That's a good team-building thing that benefits the community as a whole, so I think that's a great opportunity for students, the community, and businesses to find out that each other aren't so bad after all," Hartman said.

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad