Dang it, y’all. In all the excitement we must have missed another depiction of the #AlexanderPlan, published last month in the Daily Record accompanying an op-ed submitted by local developer, Bruce Taylor. You can see below, this one more clearly identifies additional features of his plan, including “possible new structures” in light gray.
“Light green shows structures removed.”
Thing is, the extent of demolition this local developer has been angling for at the bottom of #oldEllicottCity’s Main Street sure does look an awful lot like what our local government announced its intention to do itself—for the first time, on a fast-track basis—last Thursday, August 23. And gosh, you can see below, the local developer angling for this #AlexanderPlan sure does seem to think that Allan Kittleman and Jon Weinstein’s just-announced “bold” plan to demolish ten buildings at the bottom of Main is “the first step” in his.
We’re told Bruce Taylor emailed the text screenshot below to the non-profit Ellicott City Partnership, among several other recipients, yesterday afternoon. Did you get it? Do you get it?
I sure don’t.
The proposed demolition of all of these buildings, from Caplan’s down to Phoenix (which itself is a whole heckuva lot more than “5%” of the streetscape) did not come from any of the many, many government studies, recommendations or analyses published since the 2011 flood down Main. What scant information local government has released since its August 23 announcement tells us that destroying these ten buildings will not meaningfully reduce dangerous measures of floodwaters at the bottom of the hill.
So why would our—local—elected officials be rushing to spend limited public funds to implement a privately-sponsored demolition plan that even they do not claim will result in appreciable life-safety improvements (whereas others will)? And why on such an accelerated basis, without public input? On what rational basis would state and federal officials follow suit?
If we’re going to intentionally destroy this centuries-old, iconic streetscape (which, gosh, I sure think we shouldn’t), we better be doing it based on an independent, comprehensive engineering analysis that would justify the significant public expenditures—and irreversible consequences—at stake here.
We need to know actual engineering inputs, methodologies and conclusions. We need to know the benefit/cost ratios, and how those compare to the next-“best” alternatives. We need to know the basis for this latest plan’s timeline and phasing, and the incremental costs (and sources of funding) of each of its component parts, and their expected yields. And, yes, we need to know that this latest plan will actually make our town safe to be in. To eat in, to work in, to sleep in.
This time, we need to make the right decisions.