Agreement expected on Loyola building Neighbors, college say they can settle dispute over recreation center plans

August 05, 1998|By Jamie Stiehm | Jamie Stiehm,SUN STAFF

Negotiations between Loyola College and the North Baltimore Neighborhood Coalition over the building of a student recreation center are in summer recess, but representatives from both sides say they expect to reach an agreement next month, before the scheduled Oct. 1 demolition of the Boumi Temple on the site.

College officials and neighborhood residents have met regularly to discuss development issues since Loyola acquired the 20-acre temple property in the 4900 block of N. Charles St. in 1996.

The college envisions a $20 million indoor swimming pool, gymnasium and playing field for intramural sports on the northern edge of the site near Wyndhurst Avenue. But college neighbors worry about noise and traffic the center might generate.

"Our property values are of great concern to us, but we have been impressed with the Loyola president [the Rev. Harold Ridley]," said Harriet Long, a Blythewood Road resident. "There is truly a sea change and as long as they are thoughtful, there will be a spirit of cooperation."

Both sides expressed hope yesterday that they could reach a resolution in September, before the temple is taken down to make way for the health and fitness center.

"Before we can support efforts to demolish the building, we need an agreement," said Bruce Spector, who represents the Blythewood Neighborhood Association on the subcommittee negotiating with the college.

The other neighborhoods represented on the coalition subcommittee are Homeland and the Wyndhurst Avenue area.

"Everything is heading in a good direction," Thomas N. Marudas, a Guilford businessman and subcommittee chairman, said yesterday. He said he could not comment further on the substance of the talks because negotiations are at a delicate point.

Tim Quinn, the chief Loyola negotiator who oversees government and community relations for the college, said, "Early in September we'll be on the home stretch."

Pressed on whether Loyola would carry out demolition plans before a formal agreement with neighbors is reached, Quinn said, "I'm hopeful we'll get this wrapped up before this point."

He expressed confidence that negotiating parties will reach a "resolution favorable to the college and community."

The property, which Loyola purchased for $7.5 million from the Baltimore chapter of the fraternal Masonic organization, borders Blythewood Road, Charles Street and Wyndhurst Avenue, in a picturesque and affluent neighborhood.

Loyola spokesman Mark Kelly yesterday described the planned facility as "a modern, up-to-date gym with all the things children and students need." A rock-climbing wall will be one of the features, he said.

Pub Date: 8/05/98

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