His­toric preser­va­tion called key to restor­ing El­li­cott City

Of­fi­cials an­nounce plans to help busi­nesses, res­i­dents with re­cov­ery ef­forts

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Fa­timah Waseem

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.

FA­TIMAH WASEEM/ BAL­TI­MORE SUN ME­DIA GROUP

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.

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