Towson University breaking promise to neighbors

The Baltimore Sun

The residents of Rodgers Forge have a simple message for Towson University: A promise made should be a promise kept.

Towson University plans to build a 5,000-plus-seat arena on its southernmost boundary - which abuts my house. In 2003, the university drew up its master plan for the development on its campus and received input from the Rodgers Forge Community Association. The university agreed to build the arena on a site to the north, and not on the site that abuts the residences in Rodgers Forge.

Now TU plans to build on a site that would bring more noise, pollution and traffic to our neighborhood, to the detriment of our quality of life. Our property values would be sacrificed.

It is clear that the administrators of TU have reneged on their words. And that's not the only problem with this plan.

With many state employees on furlough and various cuts in state programs, is it really wise for Towson University to be spending $45 million on this type of project now? The university is not only foolhardy in spending money unwisely, it is also setting a bad example by demonstrating that it does not need to be a good neighbor.

The university plans to increase enrollment, yet there is inadequate housing for this projected growth. Wouldn't it be wiser for the university to use the money for much-needed student residences than for a sports arena? Increased enrollment without adequate housing only translates into more students living in our neighborhood - and, unfortunately, driving down our property values and our quality of life.

Why does the university have to grow at the expense of its neighbors? That's something we'll be asking at tonight's meeting between local residents and TU officials.

The prospect of having a giant arena literally behind my house is frightening, as is the prospect of rowdy students living in my neighborhood - as has happened in a number of Towson neighborhoods. The TU administration is out of control and needs to be reminded that it is a public institution, funded by taxpaying citizens of Maryland.

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