Ellicott City residents concerned over long-term flood plans

Community has new plan to rebuild after flood

ELLICOTT CITY, MD (WUSA9) - At an Ellicott City town hall on Wednesday, residents offered thanks, patience and of course, suggestions. But there were also concerns.

The mood was never hostile with nearly 200 residents and business owners who often thanked Howard County officials for how they responded to the deadly July flood that wrecked Ellicott City's Historic Main Street.

While flood waters have subsided, concerns arose for what is to come in the next few weeks and over the next few years.

Some stemmed from County Executive Alan Kittleman's plan for a limited reopening of Main Street on Sept. 16 and an opening to the general public on Sept. 20.

“Why are letting the public in this early?” one resident asked. “They'll just be in the way.”

Kittleman said some business owners want to reopen as soon as possible, but most seemed to want more time.

“I know it seems like a long time to have the street shut down, but for most of the merchants’ perspective, we really have not been given ample time,” a business owner said. “We are still in a state of emergency.”

RELATED: State of Emergency declared in Ellicott City

This Main Street restaurant owner said she still doesn't have floors, plumbing or electricity because she hasn't had access.

“I'm concerned about security. Many of these buildings are wide open and they're not always attended by the merchants,” she said.

Long-term concerns were aimed at the town's infrastructure and its ability to handle future storms. But Kittleman said finding that out will take years of studies, planning and funding.

“When is the next flood coming?” another owner asked. “We’re being asked to rebuild and I don't want to unless something is done there.”

The county is still waiting on decision from FEMA to decide whether this was considered a federal disaster zone, and if so, that'll unlock some needed funds to help recovery.


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