March 1, 2007


I have always thought that Catonsville Could be a College Town! I am not suggesting a Party Town, but, a Place with Bookstores , Cafes, Music and other Businesses that are attractive to the Thousands of Students at these Schools. A Town that is Safe and Welcomes the Students with open arms. Where do the Students go now? Where do they go when their Parent's or Friends Come to Visit them? What Kind of Impression does Catonsville Leave? It Seems to me that if the businesses would market themselves towards the Students, the Town would Flourish and business would be Great.

I have talked with Scunny, the guy that owns Nacho Mama's, he would love to be here in Catonsville. I have also discussed this project with Someone that Would like to bring a Greene Turtle Franchise to the area. These are the types of businesses that Would draw so Many Customers that Ship's and Jenning's etc., would not be able to handle the overflow. New Restaurants would have to follow, to keep up with demand.

Many of the People that I have Spoken with, see the incredible demographics at the local schools. They also see a large work force, that would needs local employment. I have also always thought, that Catonsville merchants should have a shuttle that Runs on a regular basis, back and fourth from UMBC. Does UMBC have a shuttle that would bring people here? if There is one, Where does it take Students Now?

I have visited some College Towns and the Surrounding Communities usually seem to love the Arts, the Entertainment, and the entire Eviroment that is created, when the Students are involed.

I am really glad to see a couple of Students replying to this blog. Please Pass it on to your Classmates.


Anonymous said...

Here's a link to the maps for the UMBC shuttle:

The shuttle drops people east of Maiden Choice/Frederick, and has stops on Rte 40.

I love the idea of bookstores, cafes, etc. A Nacho Mama's would be great -- it's reputation alone would draw people. To be honest, UMBC-ers go to Columbia/Ellicott City and Baltimore to shop, eat, party, etc. If Catonsville could open a place like Nacho Mama's it would draw students (Cheap Eats) and families alike.

Craig W. said...

Thanks for the Links. I see that the shuttle doesn't come very close to "downtown" Catonsville. How would a student, without a car, get from UMBC to a restaurant on Frederick Rd?

Anonymous said...

Nacho Mama's would be awesome! I love that place and would be sooo excited to have it open up in Catonsville!

Anonymous said...

Nacho Mama's would be great! We need better casual kid friendly restaurants or cafe/bookstore. We hate Friendly's restaurants and wish something better would have gone in that space on Frederick road. I wish Frederick road would become more like Main Street in Ellicott city. We have to start somewhere! Good luck! Thanks for the opportunity to write.

Anonymous said...

Everyone eats in Columbia restaurants!!! Bring some great restaurants here. We don't have any greaat local restaurants.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Witzke,
Your blog was forwarded to me from a fellow Moms Club of Catonsville North. I wasn't surprised to see so many suggest a Starbucks, and I was happy to see your response: NO Starbucks - thank you! Besides, Catonsville's got the Coffee Junction, which is presently expanding - who needs Starbucks?
Anyway, I agree that a bakery/cafe' would be fantastic in this space, as there is a need for a decent sandwich shop. And I'd like to suggest that you speak w/the people at Atwater Bread. They currently have a shop at Belvedere Square and they sell their bread at the Catonsville Farmers Market (and other markets in Baltimore). I think the owner is even from Catonsville? It's definitely a regional business, and they would be a fantastic addition to the area. If you've never been to Atwater's for lunch, I suggest you visit - it's delicious! And very very busy! Please, please consider this.
I think it's really great that you are welcoming the community's input and not just throwing it to the highest bidder. Thanks for letting me put in my two cents.
Amy Houghton
Catonsville MD

Anonymous said...

I think there is such potential to create something great but need to create a ground swell and get people on the same page. Not sure how to do that. I can just think of so many towns—parts of cool neighborhoods in Baltimore —New Hope, Pa, Durrango, Co. that have so much to offer. We could be like that.

BTW—the Chinese restaurant where Sam’s is is BYOB and it works great. Also, how about a curbside service restaurant (in additiona to some tables) if parking is an issue? Can we get other property owners to join us in making Cville a place to be?

Please send your suggestions, write to the Times, forward this email blog address etc. about suggestions for the Muir Hardware property on Frederick Road .

I think we could turn Frederick Rd into something of a Federal Hill, Main St . Ellicott City-feel if we get enough decent shops and restaurants. I’m sure we can all think of a town or city we visited with qualities we’d like to have within a half mile to a mile of our houses. Also make your voices heard to what would NOT be good—dollar stores, more hair, nail and tanning salons, bad chain restaurants, fast food, check cashing places, etc. And, please let’s suggest renovating the building instead of razing it so we can preserve some character on this street.

Karen G.

Anonymous said...

hello - i didin't have time to figure out the blog site, but wanted to suggest that catonsville needs some upscale "anchor" to start things off. none of hte current crop of stores attract shoppers with money. nor do any of them help the others - none are the kind of place you go to browse.

getting a store like that should be the priority in my opinion. whole foods, gap, starbucks (my favorite - i drive 20 minutes every am for my coffee) - anything in that vein - i know it is ambitous but until someone like that chooses to take a chance, catonsville will continue to be the strip it is - music stores, wallpaper and frame shops.


Anonymous said...

I just finished reading your blog and I truly hope that you are able to turn things around on Frederick Road! I support your efforts.
As you know, I walk to Catonsville El every day, and I have seen a number of people looking at the display in the window of your storefront. There are many different ideas about what to do with the space, I really don't know what should go there, but I probably will support many of the suggestions.
I will write a letter to the times, but I'm not exactly sure what would be helpful. I will continue to read the blog and come up with something.
Good luck,
Rebekah k.

Anonymous said...

Public transport between Catonsville and UMBC will need to dramatically improve if it is to become a true college town. Shuttle service needs to be broadened and have a more regular schedule, once every half hour or so. Thinking of good college towns, they are all nearly entirely independent shops and restaurants, so it would be best to avoid chains like Starbucks. Some restaurant-type ideas: coffee/used book store (a combination), Late-night cookie or donut joint, cheap pizza place, bagel place/deli, arts and supply store, community pub, etc. A small, independent movie theater would draw masses, as would a classy Pool Hall/grill type place. I think mainly, if this would be a serious college-town, you'd have to market yourselves as such. UMBC and CCBC should be advertising themselves with Catonsville as an attraction, not merely a location. I'm sorry I do not have more suggestions, but it would be so fantastic to have a nice college town! And a good walking area is essential, so we'd need benches outside on the sidewalks and lightposts, maybe a small garden nearby. Flowers? Make it a pretty, close-knit street of places.
-UMBC Student

Anonymous said...

To UMBC student -

Catonsville has most everything you have asked for already...

Coffee house - "Coffee Junction" and a new "Internet Cafe" should be opening soon

Late night eats - "Double T Diner"

Cheap Pizza/Subs - "Tiffany's" and "Taneytown Deli"

Bagels/Breakfast - "Sam's Bagels" and "Manelli's"

Add in the fact that Craig is working very hard to put a community supported business into his properties, I think a lot of what you want is already here. I am glad to hear your opinion, and I think if more students like you have an interest in Catonsville, it can be the college town that you want. You should let the university know that you are interested in coming to Catonsville on a regular basis so that they know there is a necessity for a bus line into the downtown area.

Marc S said...

I agree completely with all that I hear on this site! We need more... We are really two establishments (restaurant or bar) away from making downtown Catonsville the destination rather than the individaul establishment... Nach Mamas... yes... Green Turtle.. yes... just give us the word and we'll be down tomorrow morning with a shovel and paint brush to get started...

Anonymous said...

@ First Anonymous

I think the reason so many UMBC people hang out in Ellicott City or Columbia is that they are from there... I'm a UMBC student and the majority of people I meet seem to come from either Howard or Montgomery County. Personally, all I see in Columbia and Ellicott City (besides the historic downtown) is the same generic upscale suburbia you find in any affluent bedroom community in the country. I much prefer to stick around Catonsville and Arbutus, which have more interesting and appealing establishments, and more of a "Main Street" layout. There's plenty to eat around here without some big-name franchise coming in. Ever been to the late Kaila's? Thai Heaven? Tiffany's? I'd rather not see Catonsville turn into Columbia with a grid layout. Just because you can't find a Starbucks doesn't mean there isn't a good coffee shop around.

On the Lighter Side!