Historic preservation called key to restoring Ellicott City
Officials announce plans to help businesses, residents with recovery efforts
As historic Ellicott City continues its recovery from the deadly flood last month, officials said Tuesday they will work to preserve the character of the downtown as they rebuild it.
“Its history, its character, its charm is a part of this place,” said Nicholas Redding, executive director of Preservation Maryland, a nonprofit that works to preserve historic buildings, neighborhoods and archaeological sites.
“It wouldn’t be Ellicott City moving forward if that history and character weren’t a part of its future,” he said.
Preservation Maryland announced Tuesday it will open a resource center on Main Street to help businesses and residents preserve the historic character of old Ellicott City as recovery efforts continue. The center is expected to operate for the next nine months.
Ellicott City was founded in the 1770s. Its historic district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman said it’s important to reaffirm a commitment to retain Ellicott City’s historic character.
Officials said the resource center will offer technical assistance on preservation and connect property and business owners with consultants, contractors and engineers who have expertise with historic properties.
Staff will help property and business owners and residents apply for state historic rehabilitation tax credits, Redding said, and guide people through historic district review requirements as properties are rebuilt.
The community continues a massive cleanup after the July 30 flash flood, which killed two people and devastated Kittleman businesses and residences.
Redding said the city “lost a lot of [historic] fabric. ... Pieces of storefronts have been missing.
“There are some things that are going to have to be restored and replaced in some cases.”
He said his organization will seek “creative and innovative” techniques to marry flood mitigation and stormwater management with preservation goals.
The resource center is being partially funded through donations to Preservation Maryland’s Flood Recovery Fund, as well as contributions from several corporations.
More than $600,000 has been raised by local organizations to assist property and business owners and residents with recovery efforts.
The state Board of Public Works has approved $2.5 million in aid, and Gov. Larry Hogan has asked the General Assembly to approve a matching amount.
The governor has also requested federal disaster aid from President Barack Obama.
Signs in a storefront on Ellicott City’s historic Main Street express gratitude for help after the flash flood of July 30. “Its history, its character, its charm is a part of this place,” Nicholas Redding, executive director of Preservation Maryland, said Tuesday of the area.