New Ellicott City Flood Scenarios Call for the Demolition of 4-6 Downtown Buildings

Daily Record article (2019-04-17) reported that Howard County Executive Calvin Ball is reviewing five proposed scenarios to address the catastrophic flooding issues in Ellicott City. The scenarios will involve the demolition between four to six buildings on the historic town’s Main Street. The article noted that the scenarios cost between $63.5 million and $175 million and would take between four to seven years to complete.

The new scenarios, developed at Ball’s request, call for fewer buildings to be demolished than the plan supported by Ball’s predecessor, former County Executive Allan Kittleman. However, the article noted that Ball’s scenarios are more expensive and will take longer to complete than the plan proposed by Kittleman.

From the article:

“We need bold innovative solutions that won’t be a Band-Aid to this town until the next storm. We need long-term, sustainable planning that will reduce the amount of potential flood water in Ellicott City, make our town safer and respect the taxpayer investment,” Ball said.

The proposed scenarios represent the next phase in Ball’s plan to address the City’s persistent flooding issue. Since 2006, City’s downtown area has seen two catastrophic floods that resulted in millions of dollars in property damage and the loss of human life. Other phases include the installation of an early warning system and signage directing people to safe areas and the purchase of 10 damaged downtown properties.

The City dates back to the 1770s and community concerns are likely to be raised over any proposal to demolish historic buildings. In the article, Ball indicated that there will be opportunity for public feedback before a final option is selected. From the article:

“I think I owe it to our community to have this community conversation, and I trust our community will weigh in with a thoughtful response. In the end I am the county executive, and I will be making a decision based upon that community input,” he said.