Cecil Whig Editorial: Elkton Is Fighting For its Future

As Elkton continues it decades long effort to revitalize what the Cecil Whig characterizes as a once bustling “’bygone’ Main Street,” that “seems deserted most days,” an editorial in the paper notes that what is most needed is “town leadership willing to make unpopular choices — men and women willing to take a risk towards making real, immediate change.”    This column came about following a discussion at a town workshop about the need to do something about “the vacant or blighted buildings dotting the town.”  The decline is multifaceted but in particular the impact of county government moving out-of-town and the economic collapse of the past five years are sources of the problem, the Whig wrote.

Commissioner Charles Hicks, taking note of conditions around the municipality, urged his colleagues to not worry about a “popularity contest” and make decisions that protect the community.  “Something needs to be done. I think it’s about time.”  The Whig agreed, saying that the paper hopes his passion is a sign of things to come.

The status of Elkton’s attempt to reinvigorate Main Street and improve the central business district has been the subject of in-depth reporting and editorials periodically for a long time now.  Seven years ago, the editor said something similar in an opinion piece titled “County Seat Due a Major Overhaul.”  Here’s part of what they said in that old column.  “Elkton continues to have a problem with abandoned building sites . . . that hamper efforts to revitalize the town.  . . County government officials are working on a plan for relocating some county offices.  It’s a shame some of the abandoned building properties in Elkton cannot be utilized for future county government office sites.

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2 responses to “Cecil Whig Editorial: Elkton Is Fighting For its Future

  1. This problem is not unique to Elkton. Most small American towns have the same problem. The problem has been building for sometime by the amont of development on Route 40 from 213 to the state line. It is unfortunate that the old Newberry’s building could have been used as the county office building along with several adjacent buildings. Even the old Wal-Mart store would or could have been a viable alternative. Unless one knows where it is now, it is practically invisble. By allowing some of the commerical development along Route 40, doesn’t help the situation, but for the most part unfortunately, would what has built, survive downtown? With Wal-Mart building its Supercenter farther up the road without have to help with the redevelopment of its old building might leave something to questioned by some people, considering the sheer size of Wal-Mart. It also has been noticed in numerous locations after a Wal-Mart Supercenter has been built, more development in the proximity of the center follows. When a Wal-Mart has built in an area, consumers become so accustomed to paying the prices they do for items purchased there, to go anywhere is just about out of the question. But one can not always find a item what people need or want and in a smaller quanity, such as different color or different of the same item.One could even question the quality of some items or the availabilty of customer service assistance
    Finally, it is usually the only place to shop.

  2. John thanks for sharing your perspective. I tend to look at Elkton and compare it to other county seats in the region such as Bel Air, Chestertown, Denton, Easton, and Cambridge. Of course each is different and has many complex variables affecting it, but when you compare other places the trend in Elkton is headed in the wrong direction. You mention the loss of the 200 county office workers about two years ago. Wjat were they thinking when they allowed those 200 county workers to move out of town to the Delaware State LIne without trying to retain them Tje affect on downtown was immediately noticable and that’s why we’re now seeing the closing of several of the remaining eateries. When you allow the town to become a crimnal justice center and let the administrative workers of the county move away, you have to anticpate that’s going to have a bad affect on the local economy. The Whig’s characterization was abot right from what I see and grows worse with each passing year as the staff of two works to implement some type of revitalization plan. Oh well at least in this area we still have lots of lively, nice downtowns to visit after the workday is over, places like Havre de Grace, North East, Newark, Chesapeake City and those county seat downtowns are pretty good too.

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