One community that has won its fight to restore vitality downtown was recently examined by Cecil Whig Columnist Ed Okonowicz as he also reviewed some of the continuing challenges for Elkton. Within a few days of publication a post appeared on the daily paper’s website noting the value of the Elkton Senior Housing project for the town center. The project is an important development, which is also bringing federal stimulus money to a distressed town center, a reader aruged. “It is a “great improvement over the vacant lots and eyesores it will replace,” this person continued. To that the Whig columnist countered, never in his “wildest imagination” would he have considered the senior housing project “as a significant positive step to revitalize downtown. I’ll have to ask some of the merchants on Main Street if they are counting the days until it opens, since the heavy foot traffic by those seniors might boost their cash register receipts.”
Someone Noticed is always pleased to see constructive exchanges on this important matter, and to see a range of viewpoints, as it is critical to have a well-thought out plan that has potential for success. Given the recent changes that have taken place in the county-seat, such as the loss of nearly 200 county office workers from Main Street, is important that more discussion take place in order to develop a reasonable set of strategies. For nearly 15 years, Elkton has struggled with revitalization and about 10 years ago an independent nonprofit headed by Commissioner Mary Jo Jablonski was created to sprearhead the process. The Elkton Alliance, the private group, is largely funded by the municipality.
Here’s the link to the Whig column. To access it you will need a paid subscription to the site.
Early this year, the Mayor and Commissioiners of Elkton got into a legal tangle over this project. After the board rushed through approvals, two taxpayers hauled the town into circuit court over its decision to waive $150,000 in fees for the building. In that case the town agreed it had exceeded its authority in waiving the fees.