Sitting in her office on a recent day, Towson University President Kim Schatzel was excited. From the small conference table where she sat, Schatzel could see five cranes, only one of which was for an on-campus project.

She talked about huge investment being made in about a quarter-mile radius from the Starbucks at York Road and Burke Avenue. There’s Circle East, and Towson Row, and Towson Mews, and Towson Station, 101 York and, of course, a new Science Complex on Towson’s campus.

“That’s probably more per square foot than anywhere else in the state. People like to talk about Bethesda, people like to talk about Silver Spring. You draw a quarter mile around that? I don’t think so,” Schatzel said.

“And I would say that we have something to do with that when you consider all that investment going in. It’s because people think it’s a pretty good idea to be close to Towson University.”

The sentiment makes sense. Towson University, whose fall semester begins Aug. 26, has its own competitive sports teams, plus it hosts the Baltimore Blast, an indoor soccer team. There are new, free outdoor movie nights. The university has summer camps and free events throughout the year that are open to the community.

And, between a business- and entrepreneurship-focused development of the Towson Armory to include co-working spaces, workforce training and a business incubator, and the recently announced intended purchase of the Charles Schwab Building at 401 Washington Ave., there’s reason to believe that Towson University faculty, staff and students will be spending more time off-campus during the day.

David Marks, the Republican County Council member who represents Towson, said he thought that was all a positive. He said he liked the idea of more workers and other university affiliates spending time in downtown Towson during the day and on weeknights.

“Institutions of higher learning are relatively recession-proof. When we have an economic downtown, [Towson University and Goucher College] will insulate downtown Towson from negative economic effects,” Marks said.

Read full article: ‘Going in the right direction’: Towson University officials emphasizing connection with local community – Baltimore Sun