A white elephant in Towson

November 18, 2010

Its gestation period has been much longer than for the average pachyderm, Towson Circle lll will nonetheless become one of the largest white elephants in Baltimore County's history ("Not coming soon: a new movie complex in Towson," Nov. 14).

They are going to build a parking garage practically next to another parking garage no one uses at night now and across the street from a free parking lot for a cost of at least $12 million. The revenue it may generate will not be enough to pay for the annual maintenance and staffing costs, so one can forget about ever recouping the taxpayers' money.

They are going to build a 12- to 14-screen movie theater in Towson Circle lll, one short block from an eight-screen movie theater that is doing so poorly it will either close or in a worst case scenario, try to compete at lower prices with the proposed new one. County residents have already voted with their feet that they do not want the current multi-screen movie house in Towson and it is not because it does not have stadium seating.

Towson Circle l and ll are barely holding on by a thread, and Barnes and Noble, one of ll's anchors will be lucky to remain open for another year or so given its apparent lack of customers needed to survive.

Towson is not suffering from a lack of restaurants now, just patrons. The new restaurants proposed for Towson Circle lll may attract some new patrons for a brief period but only at the expense of the current Towson restaurants. Towson does not need more restaurants, just some better ones, and Towson is never going to attract residents in the evening until the county officials do something about York Road being such an eyesore, much like Annapolis officials did with Main Street over 50 years ago.

Towson Circle lll may be stuck in neutral, as your recent article on this subject pointed out, but it should be put in reverse, and the new administration should jam down the accelerator before it is too late and before everyone realizes what that light is at the end of the tunnel. Hint: Go see the movie "Unstoppable."

Joseph L. Johnson, Towson

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