Main St- Old Ellicott City

The place that I want to suggest some changes to is this portion of Main St in the historic portion of Old Ellicott City. This is my choice because this is close to my home and even though I don’t reside here, I feel like it is a part of my identity as I have been around these parts for a good portion of my life. More than anything, I feel as though Main St. has accepted me as a part of it and that is more important than my acceptance of it.

This part of the city has always been the busy part of the community as there are many businesses and shops that live here. Main St is like the beehive of Howard County as many of old traditions still continue here after so many years of it’s existence. The affection of this city comes from my heritage because I am originally from Bangladesh and I immigrated here in 2009. Main St reminds me of the my parents’ villages that I visited as a child. Old Ellicott City’s preservation of it’s historic buildings and sites is what pulls me to visit often. Also when I was living at home, my cousins and I visited some of the cafes and bars almost every weekend so Main St became like the norm of our hangouts.

The future I envision of this place is for it to stay just as it is today. Now, when I say that I mean for it look the same, but with modern technological changes. I would love to see these old buildings to adopt ideas from Architecture 2030 because that will not only be sustainable but beneficial for itself in aspects of creating it’s own electricity and having it’s own water filtration system. I love how I’ve grown to admire this place for the scenery, community feel and mostly the remembrance of Bangladesh, so it is important that the city remains this way so I can always feel close to home even though I am thousands of miles.

The problems I can identify so far is the most obvious that their buildings need repairs. These buildings are also so old that they are poorly filtered so the energy consumption of HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Condition) systems are much higher than regular, more modern houses. There is the other obvious problem which is that they needed to improve their sewage system. This was always present but they never came to a decision to fix it until recently when the flooding took place. This is an area that every city needs to sustain properly, whether historic or new. A state like Maryland where the weather is always unpredictable especially needs to make sure that if thunderstorms come through, the sewage system will be able to carry the extra water out of these cities. This is an area that the city officials are now working hard to improve and modernize as they are making repairs from the floods. They also have a hashtag going around the internet because they’re looking for funding and it is #ECStrong. Please do support this cause and I invite all of you to come visit this beautiful little city in Howard County that is almost like home(Bangladesh) to me.

This is a rough video of Main St that I am devising a sustainability plan for. You will observe a small portion of the city that was damaged and is in the works to be repaired. I believe that this is a great opportunity for the city officials to really nail down a couple issues at one try with various sustainable solutions that can help the longevity of the city.

Please excuse the long pause in the middle of the video when I am just walking without speaking. It was raining this morning so I wasn’t able to walk around much to capture all of Main St but the website Ellicott City has the majority of the city in pictures and updates about upcoming events that the community is arranging.

Main St is exceptionally vibrant because people love everything that the community puts together for people. It is praised in every website Old Ellicott City is mentioned. Economically, this is a pretty wealthy city. The people who live around this area is helping out a lot with funding the project with donations and fun-raising events that they are arranging. The social aspect of the city has been incredible throughout this crisis because people came up with the hashtag #ECStrong to help the cause of their beloved residence and hub. The one thing I might suggest is that they combine the people of the city and officials to come up with a plan to get into a Public-Private Partnership where the private company takes responsibility of coming up with better solutions for it’s longevity. This way the occupants of the city is not pressured by city officials to pay more and their taxes won’t be raised because the private company will cover the costs of the repairs. This can be tricky as we have discussed in class because the private company might try to benefit only themselves but this can be avoided if the plan is reviewed thoroughly. Since the city is not in an immediate crisis right now, I believe that is one way to go.

The website hyperlinked above has insights about what is taking place in the plan room and informs interested people like me about what their plans maybe about the repairs. I did not see anything about adopting a PPP but that is something I would definitely suggest to them and I am planning to write them an email. I want to have a solid plan before I do that so as soon as I come up with one in the very-near future, I will contact them. I am really enjoying to work on this project because it is giving me an opportunity to be involved in the planning of my community, which I probably would’ve never thought of before taking this class.

Scenery right after the flooding.

This picture seems devastating and I’m sure it was for many people living on Main St, but from my video, you can see how the city came together and cleaned this up.

This could’ve been avoided if the sewage system was better.
This is an improved city sewage system that accounts for excess water in the “outfall” pit which will be beneficial to adopt.

One way I can think of raising money for a plan like this, is to have fundraisers where they are selling things that people would want. The farmer’s market that was shot in the video can be great way because the city officials can take a little fee from the customers for a couple times. The farmer’s market event gets pretty busy so if enough people give little, all together that can collect a small portion of the costs. The city officials, with the help of the community can also make an appeal to the state officials about helping the city construction to fund this repair project. I still think that going to a private company maybe the best option because they will have enough funds and more knowledge about how the city’s infrastructure can be improved to eliminate events like the floods.