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One year after Gordon Ramsay visited Ellicott City for town makeover, residents gather to clean up waterways

One year after celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay visited historic Ellicott City, 100 volunteers joined Howard EcoWorks for an annual cleanup of the Tiber River watershed on Saturday.

The volunteers, including County Executive Calvin Ball, former County Executive Allan Kittleman, County Council Chair Liz Walsh and County Council member David Yungmann, spent two hours across nine locations in Ellicott City cleaning up trash, managing invasive vines and participating in beautification efforts.

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Lori Lilly, executive director of Howard EcoWorks, said the group held the event on the one-year anniversary of Ramsay’s visit because she wanted to emulate the excitement of the cleanup that happened during filming in late February 2020.

The special “24 Hours to Hell and Back” episode detailed the renovations of three downtown establishments: Little Market Cafe; Jaxon Edwin, a barbershop, coffee bar and game room that ended up closing permanently in August partially due to the coronavirus pandemic; and the new Phoenix Upper Main, the merger of Phoenix Emporium and Ellicott Mills Brewing Company. The upgrades also featured exterior renovations to the Shoemaker Country store, done by celebrity interior designer Nate Berkus.

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Local volunteers also took to Main Street during the week of filming to wash windows, sweep streets, clip vines, weed and plant a garden.

Lilly said she wanted cleanup efforts to happen consistently, not just after a major flooding event, so having an annual event where people come back to help out is a positive step.

“It felt really good. Everyone was positive and energized and excited to be out,” Lilly said of Saturday’s event. “People were pretty excited to be outside after being cooped inside all winter long.”

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