Main Street Ellicott City is getting all decked out for the holidays. There’s an excitement and vibrancy on Main Street that marks the amazing recovery and rebuilding efforts and an incredible sense of community. The bonds formed up and down the street with people joining together to rebuild old Ellicott City have been key to these efforts. “Everyone just took a piece of the pie, and got to work,” says Maureen E.C. Smith of the Ellicott City Partnership
Merchants agreed that this event presented an opportunity to rebuild Ellicott City better than it was before. Restauranteurs who had never met were holding meetings talking about restaurant business in Ellicott City. Merchants from different ends of the street who didn’t know each other before the flood have been working together post flood.
The team spirit and level of effort has been incredible. “We’re not stepping on each other’s toes. And it’s amazing how well things have been happening. And it happened organically. We’re not duplicating effort and we’re not stepping on each other’s toes,” notes Smith. She also points out how many partnerships and organizations have been working together to get things accomplished, including Howard County. Ms. Smith is quick to note what an outstanding job the county and the county executive have done.
After a disaster of this magnitude, “normally only 25% of people return. We’re expecting 75 – 80 % return. We are so
encouraged by that.”
Ellicott City is coming back stronger and better than ever. Flood resistant building materials are being used in rebuilding. Established businesses are taking the opportunity to improve. New businesses are moving in. And the support and help from the community have been nothing short of extraordinary.
Don Reuwer Jr., president of Waverly Real Estate Group, which owns a number of buildings on Main Street, has worked non-stop since the flood to help tenants and businesses get back to business. He was honored by the governor and the county executive for his work.
“What’s been reconstructed is better than what was there before. A lot of what we’ve done is make everything flood resistant. So if it [flooding] ever happens again, the damage won’t be as severe. My take on it is very positive – the reconstruction is better than what was there, the businesses that are coming back are the ones that really want to be here, and we’re getting new people, new ideas, new businesses.”
“All in all, I think it’s lots of positive stuff. Fast forward 24 months [from now] and I think the town’s going to be way more exciting than it ever was,” says Reuwer.
The street and shops are open now. On November 26, there will be a celebration featuring Howard County Executive Alan Kittleman, members of the Howard County Council, United States Senator Ben Cardin, United States Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, and Maryland Senator Gail Bates with a ribbon-cutting to launch the holiday season. This holiday season is important for Ellicott City Main Street.
The efforts continue to support Ellicott City recovery.
Howard Bank is decorating an Ellicott City Main Street themed Christmas tree for the Kennedy Krieger Festival of TreesDonations of ornaments from the community at large, as well as shop owners on Main Street, have produced beautiful old-fashioned ornaments that represent the historic Main Street. The tree will be on display from November 25 – 27 at the Festival of Trees at the Timonium Fairgrounds, and then raffled at Midnight Madness in Ellicott City on December 2, with the proceeds to benefit Main Street recovery efforts.
The Ellicott City Partnership has given away over $I million in donated funds to residents, property owners and business owners. The generous efforts of so many, including a scout troop that raised $3,500 with a SK race, and other kids who designed and sold t-shirts, created bracelets and manned numerous lemonade stands, made this fund possible.
Midnight Madness – The community can help support Old Ellicott City by shopping local this season in unique Ellicott City shops, galleries and artist studios. Ellicott City restaurants will feature dinner and drink specials all evening as well. Stores and restaurants will remain open until midnight.
And for the stores that will not be able to re-open in time for the holidays, a local artist is painting the plywood surfaces of 5 stores/restaurants to look like open shops.
Ellicott City happenings and information can be found here:
Ellicott City Partnership
Howard County Tourism