Towson University will host a meeting Tuesday for Rodgers Forge residents and other community members as the university prepares for groundbreaking on its new sports arena.
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Minnegan Room inside the Johnny Unitas Stadium Field House.
Officials—including James Sheehan, Towson's vice president for administration and finance, and Mike Waddell, the university's athletic director—will be on hand to answer questions about the arena's final design and elevation plans.
The 5,000-seat gymnastics, basketball and volleyball facility, tentatively named Tiger Arena, is set to break ground this spring and open in 2013. The new arena is the centerpiece of outgoing university President Robert Caret's efforts to boost the university's presence as a mid-major athletic powerhouse. However, its planning was the source of headaches for both the university and its neighbors.
What was planned as an expansion of the existing arena evolved into a new building just feet away from residents on Stanmore Road. Residents protested, and the university in 2009 signed a memorandum of understanding with Rodgers Forge Community Association. Under the agreement, the university moved the planned arena to the other side of Towson Center—incurring $23 million in additional costs as a result—and allowed for community feedback on landscaping and elevation plans.
Pat Foretich, a Stanmore Road resident, said he wishes the meeting could have been held sooner and hasn't seen enough detailed information on the arena to form an opinion.
"We'll see what they have to say," he said. "I'm just looking forward to them giving some good answers."
Still, he hopes the improved communication leads to a better relationship between the residents and the university in the future.
"There's always room for growth, and I'm hoping that the university extends more toward the community," he said.