Saturday, March 13, 2021



Did you see the announcement?

The County is seeking to rezone the historic Ellicott City Courthouse Complex and is issuing a Request for Information for creative reuse concepts for the four associated properties: (1) the Circuit Courthouse located at 8360 Court Avenue, (2) the former Detention Center or Old Jail House, (3) the office building located at 3716 Court Place and (4) the 269-space parking lot used for the Courthouse. The Ellicott City Watershed Master Plan, which was adopted by the Howard County Council in December 2020, calls for a mixed-use development at the courthouse site with an emphasis on pedestrian and open space connections. 

The current Circuit Courthouse will be vacated this summer and relocated to a newly developed state-of-the-art Circuit Courthouse, creating a unique reuse opportunity of the County-owned Courthouse and adjacent properties.

Photo credit: Howard County Government

Here are some suggestions made by readers on social media:

Temporary STEM academy for some of our severely overcrowded high schools.

Keep as much of the original buildings as possible. They are quite historical. And I cannot even imagine tearing all that down and building new stuff, what a mess and I don’t see how that would even be feasible in that location due to environmental impact etc.

A theater space for the Shakespeare company and community groups.

An outdoor entertainment area and small shops to go along with old EC would be great! 

Please keep these beautiful buildings. How about a maker space in one of them?

Artists studios and cafes like Torpedo Factory in Alexandria

Native plant pollinator (moth and butterfly) garden space with educational signage.

A B&B? Doesn't seem to be any in the area. Lots of stuff in walking distance. 

A place like Classic Remise Berlin 

What do you think?

I don’t know the state of the buildings themselves and whether it is feasible to keep and renovate them as opposed to tearing them down and starting over. If you have any inside info on this, please pass it along. I do think it would be great if that space became a destination which draws people to the area. Once there, they would be inclined to noodle around all the great shops and patronize the nearby restaurants. 

I’d like to point out my gratitude that not a single response to the County’s announcement on Facebook came from any of the usual trolls who take it upon themselves to pollute the general discourse. I don’t know how long that will last, but, it’s refreshing.

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