Revitalization of devastated downtown Ellicott City should build on its strength

On the evening on Saturday, July 30, 2016, the historic center of Ellicott City, Maryland was devastated by a flood.

ellicott2That next morning, Preservation Maryland activated an Emergency Flood Fund and opened up a volunteer sign-up form for those specifically interested in assisting with the restoration of historic properties in the historic district.

One month after the flood, on August 30, 2016, Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman held a press conference to announce that Preservation Maryland would be opening a Preservation Resource Center on Main Street to provide direct technical preservation assistance to historic property owners.

In the wake of the devastating floods, an Ellicott City recovery and restoration plan should include a discussion of how tax dollars can be deployed as a catalyst for sustaining the historic area.

Deploying state-of-the-art flood-control technology must be in the dialogue, followed by ways to add parks and provide better access to the adjacent Patapsco River Valley and state park, which a 2012 study called “an underutilized amenity.”

The value of Ellicott City’s shops and restaurants can’t be marginalized and an economic development blueprint for a more diverse business base is required.

An organic rebranding of the historic downtown already now appears to be underway. The key is to restore and protect the city’s unique sense of place, along with its historic character.

See editorial in the Baltimore Sun.

See Preservation Maryland’s call for funds to help rebuild Ellicott City + photo credits.

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