Announced via press release:
County Executive Calvin Ball Updates Ellicott City Flood Mitigation Progress
Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today provided a progress report on the Ellicott City Safe and Sound Plan launched last December for Old Ellicott City’s ongoing recovery from recent flooding events. County Executive Ball detailed latest developments regarding acquisitions and Main Street restoration, flood mitigation projects, ensuring public safety, and continuing economic development progress and success. Video of Executive Ball’s announcement can be found at HERE. Pictures can be found HERE.
“Since our last EC Safe and Sound plan update in May, Howard County Government has been diligently making progress in Historic Ellicott City,” said Ball. “Every day we are working with Ellicott City residents, businesses, and organizations to recover, protect, and build a resilient future for this historic town. The 26 businesses that have opened or re-opened since last December are a testament to our continued partnership to make the town more resilient than ever.”
ACQUISITIONS AND MAIN STREET RESTORATION:
To date, Howard County Government has acquired nine of the 10 buildings it planned to purchase on lower Main Street. Six of these buildings will now have portions preserved. Since February, all the buildings owned by the county have been fully cleaned out of debris. Additional work on the properties includes façade restoration, installation of new doors and shadow boxes, and other stabilization improvements.
The next step is partial removal of the sections of the buildings over the stream channel. To complete this and subsequent renovation of these buildings, the county needs to undergo a federal Section 106 process to assess the historical impacts.
The application for Section 106 process has been submitted and reviewed by the Army Corps of Engineers and we are now in the process of responding to their comments. The first public hearing will be before the end of February and the Section 106 process is expected to be completed by the end of next year with demolitions and renovations following shortly thereafter.
The Ellicott City Safe and Sound Plan will reduce flood waters on Main Street to less than a foot in a 100-year storm and approximately three feet in a storm the scale of the July 2016 flood.
Two projects, the Quaker Mill Pond and the H-7 pond, are slated to start construction within the next year, while the Maryland Avenue and 8600 Main Street Culvert projects are anticipated to start construction in FY2021.
Rogers Avenue storm drain improvements are expected to be completed by the end of next month, weather permitting.
The County has acquired the property needed for the H-4 pond, taking 34 units out of the development pipeline and securing 11 acres for upstream flood mitigation.
Significant progress has been made on possible North Tunnel alignments. During the next year, Howard County will be studying to determine the subsurface conditions, including the location and nature of rock along each of the alignments, and another study to fine tune and select the best vertical and horizontal layout of the tunnel. A Request for Qualifications to procure the services of a design firm for the North Tunnel by the end of 2019.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is conducting an independent study of our flood mitigation approach to ensure we are taking the best approach to protect Ellicott City.
ENSURING PUBLIC SAFETY
Public safety remains County Executive Ball’s top priority and Howard County will be better prepared for future potential storms.
For the temporary emergency alert system, a third speaker array was purchased and installed in parking lot “C” and as a result, emergency alert tones are now four times as loud in this area. The Office of Emergency Management also worked with the National Weather Service to create a new designation for Historic Ellicott City. Now, when there is a flash flood warning that impacts the Tiber/Hudson Watershed, the National Weather Service will specifically list “Historic Ellicott City” as an impacted area, instead of Ellicott City as a whole.
An enhanced “Clearing the Waterways” debris clean-up protocol has already resulted in the removal of nearly 10 tons of debris so far this year.
Significant progress has also been made with private access points to allow the public to access private property and exit the flood plain during a flood event. This is particularly important on the lower end of Main Street where there are limited ways for people to get off the street if flooding occurs.
Since December 2018, 18 new businesses have opened in Historic Ellicott City:
Park Ridge Creamery
Poppy & Stella
Reclaimed by You
The Unusual Company
Willow & Oak
Additionally, eight existing businesses have re-opened since December:
EC Pops – Retail
EC Pops Popcorn
Forget Me Not Factory
Main Street Yoga
Here is the video from the announcement yesterday: https://www.facebook.com/HoCoGovExec/videos/1170606899800411/