ELLICOTT CITY, MD (WUSA9) - For the people of Ellicott City, June 30th is a day defined by devastation and destruction. It was on this day last year that flood waters filled Main Street, turning it into a river. Along the way, the water destroyed homes and businesses and turned sidewalks and roads into gaping holes. Two people also died during the flood.
"It's still hard for me to come down here," said Chip Spencer, a former resident.
The flood severely damaged Spencer's home. One year later, he still is not able to return to his home.
"The whole front wall was missing," he said. "You could see straight through."
But one year later, the town has made some major progress. On Saturday morning, the road was packed full of cars, and the sidewalks were full of people. The businesses were flourishing, and many residents have returned home.
At a ceremony, city leaders praised how far they've come, and unveiled a new clock. The original clock washed away during the flood last year.
"That clock is really a symbol of our town," said David Robeson, who owns the Antique Depot. "And really it's the heartbeat."
Like many in the city, Antique Depot was damaged by the flood. Now it's returned. Lisa Emerling, the dealer working the night of the flood, said that the ceremony was meaningful.
"It's so fabulous," she said. "It's so exciting. It's invigorating. You just feel like it's a re-birth really for the city."
John Beck has lived in Ellicott City for 45 years, and he said the flood was 'unbelievable.'
"It was very painful," he said. "It was pretty horrific. It was as someone described earlier like seeing a movie."
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But signs of progress do pop every day. A prime example can be found at the store, Shoemaker country. One of the owners, John Shoemaker, said that his family lost both their home and the business during the flood. On Saturday, the store finally opened back up, all these months later.
"We didn't have enough time," he said. "To sit back and say 'Oh My Goodness. This is actually gonna happen.' It just sort of like, we went to bed last night being tired from doing all the work, and then all of a sudden we woke up, and we were like 'ok - we're going to be open today,' and it's still hitting us I think. But it's a good feeling to be back part of the town."
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