74 percent of Howard County voters support alternatives to demolishing large portions of Ellicott City’s historic district, according to a poll released today by Preservation Maryland. 

Additionally, according to the poll results, 69 percent of Howard County residents were opposed or were uncertain as to whether it was worth spending $50 million to reduce floodwaters on Main Street from 6’-to-8’ to 4’-to-6’.

The survey of 625 registered Howard County voters who are likely to vote was conducted between September 17 and September 19, 2018 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy. Those interviewed were randomly selected from a phone-matched Howard County voter registration list that included both landline and cell phone numbers. Quotas were assigned to reflect voter turnout by council district. The margin of error was +/- 4 percent.

“These poll results confirm what everyone suspected – there is broad and substantial public opposition to this plan. Spending $50 million and still leaving almost six feet of life-threatening swift water on lower Main Street is not a smart proposition – and Howard County residents clearly want to see alternatives.” – Nicholas Redding, Preservation Maryland Executive Director

In addition to broad support for identifying alternatives to demolition, the poll also found that:

  • 85 percent feel the historic buildings on Main Street are very or somewhat important to the experience of visiting or living in the historic district.
  • 64 percent support exploring the creation of a state park unit to manage flood prone properties – a concept first proposed by Preservation Maryland in its Special Report published in early September 2018.
  • 58 percent are opposed or uncertain about diverting funding from the county’s road resurfacing fund and delaying the construction of the Route One Fire Station to fund the demolition plan.
  • 51 percent feel that Howard County has not done enough to mitigate flood risks since the 2016 flood.

The poll results come as the Howard County Council is considering fast-tracked legislation that would fund the irreversible demolition of a large portion of Ellicott City’s historic Main Street.  Despite the lack of substantive public engagement or opportunities to provide input, a vote on funding for this plan could come as early as October 1.

“Given the overwhelming public opposition – and support for exploring safer alternatives, we are urging the Howard County Council to table the demolition component of this plan and to move forward on the proven stormwater mitigation strategies while alternatives to demolition can be fully studied in a transparent and open process.” Elly Cowan, Preservation Maryland Director of Advocacy

To learn more about Preservation Maryland’s position on Ellicott City and ways to get engaged, visit presmd.org/ellicottcity.

Download the full poll results

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