A Baltimore Business Journal article (2018-08-24) highlighted the tricky intersection between protecting the public, creating sound land use and environmental policy, and preserving history. The article recounted the criticism Preservation Maryland has leveled towards a recently announced plan by Howard County to demolish 10 historic Main Street buildings in Ellicott City in order to control catastrophic flooding that has claimed lives and caused significant property damage to the downtown area over the last two years.
The article stated that Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman recently unveiled a plan to raze 10 historic buildings and nine other buildings in order to create green space and expand the Tiber River. The plan also called for construction of several flood control measures further upstream. According to Kittleman, the plan is based on an engineering study funded by the County (The study will be made public shortly).
However, the article noted that the plan drew a strong rebuke from Preservation Maryland:
To Preservation Maryland, the move to demolish the buildings at 8049 to 8125 Main St. that include Phoenix Emporium, Portalli’s, the Bean Hollow coffee shop and former Caplan’s building could nix historic tax credits and other incentives for the former mill town. …
Preservation Maryland Executive Director Nicholas Redding said his group was not included in discussions about the fate of the historic buildings or the demolition plan despite reaching out to Kittleman several times over the past few months with no response.
The article stated that Preservation Maryland is willing to provide matching funds to study alternatives and will release its own white paper on how to best address the Ellicott City flooding issue.