ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ)—Ninety businesses were damaged or destroyed on July 30th after floodwaters swept through historic Ellicott City, but preservationists are now planning to install a one-stop-shop resource to bring back the charm of this city.
It can be hard to imagine what Ellicott City’s Main Street looked like many years ago.
“It’s beautiful, historic river town. It’s the reason my husband I moved here five years ago,” said Dianne Paulus.
Founded in the 1770’s, many structures have a deeply rooted history.
History, that was nearly swept away one month ago.
The horrific flooding took cars and businesses with it and killed two people, leaving unique buildings, mud-caked and hollow and the whole city starting from scratch.
“It’s like an ant house, an ant farm, but every ant knows exactly what they’re doing,” said Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman.
Once the buildings and streets are functional, the focus then can shift toward preserving the unique history of Ellicott City.
Preservation Maryland plans to establish a “preservation resource center” on Main Street for property owners in the “repairing stage” facing heaps of red tape and financial issues.
“We want to save people some time and some money by being able to have people come in and talk through the project that they have in mind. Help them find an architect, help them find the contractor that they need,” said Nicholas Redding, executive director with Preservation Maryland.
Residents like Dianne Paulus know the history is what makes Ellicott City unlike any other.
“We don’t want to see it look like any other town. It needs to keep the character from a historic standpoint,” she says.
And while it may be a huge undertaking, Howard County executives and Preservation Maryland say there’s no choice but to restore what once was.
“Its history, its character, its charm is a part of this place and it wouldn’t be Ellicott City moving forward if that history and character weren’t a part of its future,” said Redding.
Preserve Maryland estimates it will cost about $100,000 to keep the preservation resource center open for 9 months. Officials say about half of that money has been raised.
Funding for the center have come from Maryland’s Flood Recovery Fund, several corporations, and individual donations.