Howard County Council Member Liz Walsh (District 1) took to Facebook on the evening before the Ellicott City Flood Mitigation Plan announcement with the following statement:

I don’t know what the County Executive is going to announce tomorrow.

Whose priorities that “new” flood mitigation plan for old Ellicott City will reflect, what series of choices led to it, how the process developed—I couldn’t tell you that either.

I do know that—unless tunnels are part of the “new” plan—what’s announced tomorrow will hardly be different than what was announced nine months ago by our predecessors in front of the National Historic Landmark B&O Railroad Station. That the same carry-over bureaucrats and consultants will likely flank our new County Executive as he makes that announcement. And that still absent from the “new” plan will be New Cut—the steepest and largest of the three waterways that descend into old Ellicott City.

This is what I have implored the new Administration at every opportunity:

🌳 We need the brightest minds and the clearest eyes to solve long-term, local land-use mismanagement and global climate change all wrapped up into one tragic package. The community development corporation now being considered—seeded with the County’s growing portfolio of old Ellicott City properties—could find and build real, model climate resiliency.

🌳 We need an unwavering focus on preserving and enhancing natural green space, further up into the hills, all of the hills, above town. The New Cut, Tiber and Hudson floodplains could be natural parkways from Main Street to their headwaters—yet another no-place-else draw to this magical place.

🌳 And we need to stop collecting and chuting all the water into and onto Main Street. Instead, let’s find ways to divert and slow and prevent all those different vicious rivers that spring from the sidestreets and hillscapes of Frederick, Rogers, Ellicott Mills, Fels, Court, Church, Old Columbia, College and New Cut, every time it rains. And let’s be sure we aren’t adding to their count with ever more new development.

This is what I promise you: I will not stop advocating for this historic town and its next 250 years. I will not stop advocating for sensible and sustainable land-use—County-wide. I will not stop advocating for what we will leave to our children.

I will not. I cannot. It is not a choice.

Here is the post:

Here are a few things that caught my eye when I saw this online:

  • The statement of “Whose priorities that “new” flood mitigation plan for old Ellicott City will reflect, what series of choices led to it, how the process developed—I couldn’t tell you that either.”…that caught me off guard. It sounds like (to me) that the council member from District 1 was not involved at all in the process leading up to the announcement today.
  • The statement of unless tunnels are part of the “new” plan—what’s announced tomorrow will hardly be different than what was announced nine months ago by our predecessors”…that also seems like a strange statement on the eve of the announcement. The two plans that include tunnels are the most expensive of the five plans. The old plan has been put side by side with the 5 new options so that everyone can see the differences.
  • The statement of “And that still absent from the “new” plan will be New Cut—the steepest and largest of the three waterways that descend into old Ellicott City.”...while absent from this plan maybe that is on the CE’s list if there is a Phase 3 to “EC Safe and Sound” and maybe Council Member Walsh is advocating for that to be the case…I can not say for sure.

I love it when council members advocate strongly for their districts but I am not sure I understand this statement or more specifically, the timing of this statement.

I will be very interested to see what statements are made if Howard County Executive Calvin Ball does not select option 3G.7.0 or 3G.8.0 (the two plans that include tunnels)…something for me to keep an eye on going forward.

I am also now very interested to listen to the announcement today to see if County Executive Ball describes the process utilized to make the selection on the option announced. I have a feeling that this may be a discussion item for a little while if that is not discussed today. (I see speech writers on their keyboards this morning making changes – LOL).

Scott E

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