The Ellicott City Historic District has seen a number of revitalization projects and initiatives aimed at attracting more visitors downtown in recent years.
On Monday, Howard County officials announced the next step for the historic district, one that they say will bring additional investments to the downtown area.
Ellicott City has earned the Main Street Maryland designation, giving it top priority for future state and federal grant opportunities and connecting it to statewide marketing and promotional events.
"Main Street Maryland means Ellicott City will now have a partner and will get technical assistance, priority funding and other resources as we plan and grow this great little town," said Rachelina Bonacci, chief executive officer of Howard County Tourism and Promotion.
County and state officials gathered at the Howard County Welcome Center in Ellicott City to make the announcement. Ellicott City is the 28th community in Maryland to achieve the designation and the first in Howard County.
Main Street Maryland is a downtown revitalization program that aims to strengthen main street neighborhoods around the state through construction projects, organizing downtown stakeholders, promoting tourism in downtown and financial support for projects.
Clarence Snuggs, acting secretary of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, noted Ellicott City's historical charm and attractions, such as the B & O Ellicott City Station.
"Ellicott City has long been a great place to shop, to dine and experience the authentic, early American downtown," Snuggs said.
Recent investments and initiatives in Ellicott City include facade, streetscape and parking lot improvements, stormwater management upgrades, the re-launch of a Saturday community market and Ellicott City's selection for the Benjamin Moore "Main Street Matters" competition, which provided a new coat of paint for Main Street.
County Executive Ken Ulman praised the public-private partnerships that have made these projects and others in the past successful.
Howard County Council Vice Chair Courtney Watson said she was "very proud" that Ellicott City, which is in her district, was able to achieve this designation that took about six years to meet the necessary requirements.
"This will ensure the future of Main Street," she said.
The local aspect of the Main Street Maryland designation will be administered by the nonprofit Ellicott City Partnership.
"This is one more tool that the Ellicott City Partnership will have available to help with the success of Main Street," Debra Korb, executive director of the partnership, said in a statement.
In addition to the Main Street Maryland designation, it was announced that Ellicott City would participate in the "Make It To Main Street" initiative, which is designed to raise awareness of Maryland made goods available in Main Street Maryland communities.