I'm stunned to read yet another roadblock to removing an eyesore in Towson. York Road is the gateway to town from the south. Right past the university we see a Starbucks and a bank — pretty much Anytown, USA. Unfortunately, it quickly goes downhill from there. Despite being flanked to the east with new half-million dollar townhomes, the west shows decay and abandonment. And given the objections to 101 York project presented by the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations, one can only surmise it is because the group president does not like it.
The fights presented have no validity. At one time, the objection to the project was it will cause too much traffic. (Guys, the project takes 400 cars off the road from commuting to Towson University). Then the objection was: not enough parking — which led to an increase in size and scope of the project, not only for parking but also as a return on investment. Now GTCCA president Mike Ertel has said about the project: "It's like a sore thumb."
A sore thumb? I grew up in Towson Manor and still reside just a few blocks over. For my 50-plus years here, this area has always been a dump. Since when is an urban dump not a sore thumb? We have a sore thumb as a gateway to town. We have a sore thumb overgrown and obscuring a midtown dump.
It is shocking to see the GTCCA stonewalling on so many fronts. This project isn't just about fulfilling a developer's investment, it's about private money clearing up a blighted area — an area the GTCCA and the American Legion cannot propose any other solution for. This project is about cleaning up a brownfield of dumped tires, motors and transmissions due to decades of environmental abuse. That legacy environmental abuse is likely polluting Towson Run before it leads to Lake Roland and then the Jones Falls, Patapsco and the Chesapeake.
Green space is lacking in our area. Yet the greenspace in existence is either in either in need of dramatic improvement or is underutilized due to funding. So when the developer throws down three-quarters of a million, one person (Ertel) says, "It's not about the money. It's about the project. It's like a sore thumb." To that I have to say, it's not about an individual. It's about the community as a whole. It's about healing a five decade plus sore thumb.