Ellicott City Sign Clashes With Historic District Group

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September 26, 1990|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

A new street sign on Ellicott City's Main Street has the folks on the county's historic district commission seeing red these days -- literally.

The bright red, square sign at the corner of Maryland Avenue and Main Street clashes with the quaint nature of the historic area, says the seven-member commission.

"We would prefer something quieter," said historic district chairperson Jean Hannon.

"The county is spending a lot of money to redo the streetscape and try and come up with something that is aesthetically pleasing," she said.

County traffic planners chose the red sign -- in the style of the blue street signs in Columbia -- based on the recommendations of an architectural firm's report suggesting improvements to Main Street, said Ed Walter, county traffic engineer.

The report, prepared by a Columbia landscape architecture firm, stated that: "The granite building materials used throughout the city are very responsive to the color 'fire engine red.' " "The grays in the town make this color sing. White lettering on this bright background is suggested."

Walter said that the Restoration Foundation of Ellicott City approved the signs, but the Historic District Commission "told me in no uncertain terms they didn't like the color."

He said he'd be glad to work with the group regarding the design of future signs.

"I'm not wedded to the color red," he said. "I think the sign's very attractive."

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