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News Maryland Howard County Ellicott City

Howard County announces funds to paint Main Street's west end

Ellicott City's Main Street is poised for a second round of painting,  this time on the west end of town and funded primarily by county dollars, officials announced Monday.

Shop fronts on the eastern side of town were painted in June, as part of a Main Street makeover sponsored by Benjamin Moore for winners of its top small towns in North America sweepstakes. 

The paint company decided, however, that beautifcation would end at the intersection of Main Street and Old Columbia Pike. County officials, working with the Ellicott City Historic District Partnership -- a group of property owners, merchants and residents in the old town -- decided to find the funds to finish the job. 

"There are merchants all up and down [Main Street] who are active and driving votes [to win the sweepstakes]," said Howard County Executive Ken Ulman. "We want to paint every single facade that wants to participate... we want to make sure everyone is included." 

According to Howard County spokesman David Nitkin, the county will contribute $22,500 from a fund dedicated to Ellicott City improvements to support the additional painting. The Historic District Partnership will donate up to $3,000. 

Ulman also announced that the county had secured state funds to help merchants pay for additional improvements to their storefronts beyond paint work. Merchants who do extra work will also be eligible for a 25 percent property tax credit. 

Ulman called the initiatives an investment "in the infrastructure that allows historic Ellicott City to thrive." 

Definition Painting, a Columbia-based company that contracted with Benjamin Moore to paint the east side of Main Street, will paint the west end as well. Owner Joel Alvarado said work would begin in about two weeks. 

Main Street's fresh coat of paint is one of several projects currently underway in the historic district. Since earlier this year, construction crews have been working in Lot E, where the county is building a staircase to connect Main Street to the Circuit Courthouse, as well as in Lot C, where repairs are being made to a collapsed stone wall. The county recently submitted plans to the Historic District Commission for a public plaza in Lot F. 

Council member Courtney Watson, who represents Ellicott City in District 1, said watching these projects take shape were a highlight of her nearly eight years in office. 

"We have put a lot of dollars into historic Ellicott City," Watson said. "I would say that this decade, the last eight years and hopefully tthe next two years, we have more investments in this town than there ever has been really in the history of Ellicott City."  

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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