What Makes A Town Center?

So what is a town center really?  Jay and Stuart both chose to write about it (separately) in the latest edition of The A. J. Advisor.  Is it a definition or an expectation? Do you think Odenton Town Center meets it? Should people be re-educated on the definition of a town center or should the definition be re-created to meet with today’s way of life?  If redefined, what might be lost in the previous meaning? Before publishing the newsletter, we had a debate in the office examining our thoughts and ideas on what comprises a town center.

We all agreed today’s general public believes the name Town Center means shopping center but we each had our own thoughts.

As laid out in his article Is Odenton Truly a Town Center, Stuart gives the Wikipedia definition and he believes Odenton has the defined elements of a town center with the exception of shopping.

The elements of the Odenton Town Center are here but they are not properly connected. In his article, Aligning the Planets for Odenton, Jay notes the center of town has yet to be created; we are still waiting for a sense of place.

I believe you need the defined elements but to truly be a Town Center you need the consistent activity of people.  While the train and the library do attract people, the isolation of the settings do not give you the vibe of a continuous hub of activity and there is no currently noted outdoor area or calendar plan to gather the community for public events.

As retail at The Village of Odenton Station fills in, the ever elusive Odenton Square (known as the TOD project) is developed and the parking garages are finally built, all of these opinions just might merge. We may be able to claim all defined elements for what makes a town center to include shopping, a hub of activity and most of all, a sense of place.

There are many opinions about Odenton Town Center.  In fact, Claire Louder, President & CEO of the West Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce wrote a recent editorial for The Capital on this topic as well.  Also recently discussed is whether it should still be called Odenton Town Center.  Are there connotations associated with Odenton Town Center and does a name really make a difference?

What makes a town center and should Odenton Town Center continue to keep its name?  Head over to the news tab and read our latest edition or jump right in below with your thoughts.