Community members are rallying in support of Downtown Ellicott City this weekend, turning out to patronize the shops and restaurants affected by this weeks train derailment, which shut down a portion of Main Street and caused the deaths of two local teenagers.
The Main Street Appreciation weekend is set to start Friday, with a "night out" focusing on the restaurants and bars, and Saturday and Sunday spent shopping at the small, mom-and-pop stores on Ellicott City's main street, said Tom Coale, a local blogger spearheading the support.
"This is community support, to show that Ellicott City is a community, and not just a tourist attraction," Coale said. "When our neighbors are struggling, we're there to build them back up."
The CSX train derailment early Tuesday morning — which took the lives of Rose Mayr and Elizabeth Nass, both 19 — shut down Main Street to traffic, from Old Columbia Pike to Oella Avenue, as CSX crews clean up the site and the National Transportation Safety Board continues its investigation.
While Main Street may remain closed through the weekend, the portion rom Old Columbia Pike to Maryland Avenue remains open to pedestrians. While many stores and restaurants have remained opened, they've struggled with the impact to their businesses.
Over the past year, Ellicott City has been affected by mass flooding, an earthquake, a shooting at a local church and severe, prolonged power outages caused by June's derecho.
"It's a build up of a year of unfortunate events for Ellicott City," Coale said "Businesses have had to close repeatedly."
The train derailment, he said, was "one more thing to remind us of how often unfortunate events tend to happen in Ellicott City.
"These are our neighbors and business-owners," Coale said. "They could use our support."