County Executive Ball Announces “Ellicott City Safe and Sound – Phase 1”

I wrote earlier this morning about the announcement happening today for Ellicott City “Safe and Sound” Flood Mitigation and Public Safety Plan…in case you missed the announcement…you can watch/listen to it here: via Facebook or here via YouTube:

You can also read the full plan announced this morning here:

Here are some of my takeaways from the announcement:

  • There are already several projects underway that will increase the watershed’s stormwater retention capacity. These upstream projects already in the pipeline are continuing to move forward at this time while the Ball administration examines alternatives to fullscale demolition on the lower end of Main Street.
  • The county will continue the building acquisition process already started by the previous administration.
  • The county will develop a comprehensive plan to bolster the
    county’s Emergency Public Alert System.
  • The county will do a better job of keeping the waterways in and around Ellicott City clear of debris.
  • The county will implement a Flood Mitigation Assistance Pilot Program for homeowners and businesses.
  • The county will look for additional funding form the state.
  • The county will hire a full time staff person to help
    promote tourism on Main Street and assist business owners with any aspect of their business.
  • The county has directed Department of Public Works to explore flood mitigation options that do not require full scale demolition.
  • The county will create a Community Development Corporation (CDC) Exploration Committee that will explore opportunities for properties on Main Street.

Those are some highlights of what was announced…again…go read the full document to get the full picture:

Personally…I do not see an aspect announced that does much yet in the way of making that area safer in the near future….ok…maybe improving the Emergency Public Alert System will help in the future…but what else? We will have lots of new committees and entities reviewing options…we will ask for more money from the state and we will provide some local money (in a pilot program) to help home owners and businesses…but no BIG plan right away. Maybe that is why this was titled “Phase 1”. Maybe the big plan will come down the road from one of those committees or entities reviewing options for the future.

We can not continue to make little changes and expect things to magically get better with flooding in Ellicott City. Flooding has been happening for decades in Ellicott City (not just in 2016 and 2018) and a plan to address it is needed sooner rather than later. The statement in the release “It is important to not use a sledgehammer when only a scalpel is necessary” is interesting to me…and I hope it is to you as well.

Scott E

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