One would hope that our state universities and their leaders would possess high integrity. The Rodgers Forge community has found that not to be the case in its recent dealings with President Maravene S. Loeschke and Towson University ("Rodgers Forge neighbors protest Towson University over proposed softball stadium," June 29).
A Rogers Forge committee has been meeting with Towson University and discussing alternative sites away from the common fence line for the proposed new women's softball field. This field with double seating capacity, concession stand, new sound and proposed future lighting would be only 50 feet away from the community. These meetings comprised of President Loeschke's senior staff, Sen. James Brochin, Del. Steve Lafferty, Councilman David Marks and the Rodgers Forge group were held on April 18 and May 22.
At the April 18 meeting, Towson University agreed to evaluate an alternative site on the former men's soccer field, which is well away from the neighborhood. (President Loeschke disbanded the men's soccer team in 2013 to improve proportionality under Title IX.) They also reported that the design work on the existing site was about 60 percent complete. They requested four weeks to evaluate the alternative site and gather cost estimates.
On the afternoon of May 13, President Loeschke, in an effort to appear sensitive to community concerns, made an unannounced visit to our neighborhood home adjacent to the field. Meeting with my wife, she walked the area and saw the close proximity of the current field site. Prior to leaving, she asked if there were other issues and had a brief discussion about communication and trust between the two parties.
On May 22, the Towson University senior staff returned to meet with the same group of representatives and Rodgers Forge residents. They reported that moving the field to the soccer field was cost prohibitive. They indicated that Towson University planned to proceed with the project on original site. When asked again about the design completion, they indicated the design was about 90 percent or near complete.
Imagine the surprise on June 30 when an inquisitive resident found this link. The softball field design drawings are labeled 100 percent complete and dated May 2. Furthermore, a project pre-bid meeting was held on May 13 at 11 a.m. — approximately 3-to-4 hours before President Loeschke's neighborhood visit and discussion of trust.
So much for good faith negotiating and Towson University's integrity with surrounding neighborhoods.
Jerry Truelove, Towson
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