Rodgers Forge residents, university debate arena

The Baltimore Sun

Towson University officials have offered representatives of the Rodgers Forge community several alternative sites for a proposed $45 million sports arena on the campus, all of them adjacent to the current arena. While the residents said none of the options presented at a meeting Monday night was satisfactory, they agreed to continue discussions next week.

"It was a good first step, but we need to continue to talk until the university understands the residents' point of view," Patrick Foretich, a Rodgers Forge resident, said yesterday. "We are talking about quality-of-life issues."

He said he and other members of the Halt TU Arena Now group planned to picket along the York Road side of the campus last night to keep attention focused on the issue.

"This neighborhood is upset," he said.

Rather than have a new 5,000-seat arena within a few hundred yards of their homes, residents say, the facility should be built north of Unitas Stadium.

But university officials say that building the new facility next to the adjacent arena would cost less and would allow easier access to the older building, which is to be turned into practice courts and classrooms.

"The only thing residents are interested in is another location," said Marina Cooper, university spokeswoman. "We need middle ground. We tried to paint a clear picture of how all the dominoes line up with the choices we have for a location."

The plan to picket stumped her, she said. "We are in a dialogue here," she said. "We are still talking and trying to work things out."

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