• Jack McBride White

Sykesville's First Female Mayor

Ten years later, Stacy links her dreams with reality.

Sykesville's an old town, and we've had many mayors over the years, some of them great, some of them terrible, all of them men, until now.

The outgoing mayor is Ian Shaw. I like him. He's always been kind to me and respectful, and I wish him well. He served for eight years. He was a smart and dedicated mayor, who did many good things for the town.

But Stacy is, and always had been, a force to be reckoned with. And although this is not a site about politics, it is a site about Sykesville, about stories, and history, and things that have happened.

This is a big moment in the history of Sykesville, but rather than me trying to write something interesting about it, let me present Stacy in her own words a decade ago. Stacy wrote this for Sykesville Online at the very beginning of her career in Sykesville politics.

Stacy Link Dreams of Sykesville's Next Heyday

by Stacy Link

When Dana and I first rolled into town in the spring of 2005 to take a sneak peak, the night before the realtor’s open house, at the blue house atop Spout Hill, we found Main Street to be quaint and charming and reminiscent of the main street that ran through the college town where she and I met.

We immediately fell in love with that blue house and this Main Street. Since then, we have made that house our home, tending to it like an elderly woman deserving of the attention and love earned by a lifetime of her service to its occupants. And all along we continued to fall in love with this Main Street.

Sykesville's Blue House
The Blue House

Initially, I would drive through town and realize I was comparing it to Ellicott City’s and other historic towns’ Main Streets. But the very first time I walked Main Street, and took in its architecture and went inside its buildings, I learned what it had to offer. As tough economic times had fallen upon the nation shortly after we moved here, I subsequently pondered if Main Street as a whole could ever reach its full potential. We watched as merchants moved in and moved out leaving behind empty store fronts begging for “just the right” retailer.

Stories of Heydays Past

For years now, I have heard many stories from long-time and lifelong Sykesville residents about “Sykesville’s heyday” and many stories that start out with, “Sykesville used to be...” or, “There was a time when...”

Every story fueled thoughts of ways that I could have a hand in Sykesville’s future. I hadn’t been a part of its recent past, though I had been told stories of how it had risen from the ashes over the last couple decades, restored by the hands of some determined and passionate residents with a shared vision.

Why couldn’t we have another heyday? I wanted Sykesville to be the town by which others were measured. After all, Sykesville was no longer just the place I moved to or the place we found our dream home. Sykesville had become “my town.”

Our town’s heartbeat had clearly strengthened over the last decade or so, its Main Street like a puzzle all framed out just needing the remaining pieces to be filled in. It has been on its way of becoming “that town,” the one in which everyone not only wants to live but the one which tourists want to see and to which they want to return.

And then one day in 2010, we attended a meeting at St. Paul’s church. In retrospect I’m not sure we totally understood the goal of that meeting before it began. All we knew is that this appeared to be an opportunity to become an active part in the advancement of our town. From that meeting, The Main Street Association and its committees were formed.

Advancing the Town

Over the last 24 months or so, our group has accomplished a great deal. We’ve worked closely with the organization committee to plan and execute three volunteer work days. All of our materials have been donated or have been funded by the generous monetary offerings of the South Carroll - Sykesville Rotary Club and Main Street’s business owners, as well as a Sykesville resident, Andrea Forsyth, who made a substantial contribution in honor of her husband, “Bobby Jr.”

The outcome of these work days is directly related to the sweat equity of countless volunteers which include town residents, visiting students, Rotary Club members and, of course, our committee members.

We’ve beautified while making “green” otherwise hot asphalt and concrete in the town’s parking lot islands, and filled Main Street’s flower beds with beautiful annuals and perennials. We’ve cleaned and stained Baldwin’s Station’s railing and decking, spruced up and painted some store fronts, repaired some wrought iron railings, and placed flower pots up and down Main Street.

We’ve replaced Main Street’s Christmas wreath lights with greener and more economically friendly LED lights. And of course throughout the year, our members help to staff the Main Street Association’s fundraising tables at our town festivals.

A Volunteer's Story

I want to share a brief story about a young volunteer. My neighbor, Clara, volunteered to assist us in the staining of Baldwin’s Station’s railing on our first work day in November 2011. It was a very cold day, but dressed in layers, she joined me with a brush in hand, eager to be instructed on how to best approach this now seemingly daunting task.

About two hours into it, Clara turns to me and says, “You know, I have enough volunteer hours for school already, but it’s going to be so cool when we drive into town and I can say to myself, ‘I did that.’”