www.baltimoresun.com/explore/howard/publications/howard-magazine/bs-exho-historic-ellicott-city-refresh-in-the-works-20130819,0,3041973.story

baltimoresun.com

Historic Ellicott City refresh in the works

Contest win earns town a new coat of paint

By Leah Polakoff

9:48 AM EDT, August 19, 2013

Advertisement

Ellicott City was founded 241 years ago, and -- while quaint and picturesque -- the historic parts of town are showing their age.

Thanks to a surge of community support, Ellicott City’s Main Street will get a fresh coat of paint courtesy of Benjamin Moore, through the paint company’s inaugural Main Street Matters competition.

More than 100 North American cities were nominated in the online contest, which drew nearly 500,000 votes this summer. As a top 20 finisher, Ellicott City will receive paint and supplies for restoration projects from local Benjamin Moore dealers, as well as a consultation with one of the company’s “color experts” to suggest ways of enhancing the local architectural style, regional influences and historic references, according to a Benjamin Moore spokesperson.

Behind Ellicott City’s win was a campaign by local businesses and officials to drive voters to the contest. County Executive Ken Ulman was among those urging residents to vote via social media and a YouTube video.

“To me, having Ellicott City’s Main Street selected is really a story about having a community come together and about community pride,” he says. “It shows the pride of the merchants, of the residents and of the thousands of visitors who regularly come to Main Street to eat and shop. It’s also about the power of social media. We have people all over the county and all over the state who heard about this on social media, who saw videos asking for their vote, and who in fact went online and voted once a day for several days to push us to the top of the list of 130 Main streets all over North America that were in contention.”

Randy Neely, co-owner of Randy & Steve’s: The New General Store, was among the local merchants featured in the promotional YouTube video. “I think it’s very exciting,” he says of the face-lift Main Street will undergo over the next year. “I’m looking forward to Ellicott City being painted into a beautiful palette of color.”