ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Ellicott City’s Main Street fully opened again for the first time since deadly floods devastated the area May 27th, the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.
“We’re a great team here and there’s a great future ahead,” said Pam Long. She runs a photography studio on Main Street.
“There’s a lot of work still to be done.” Long said.
Mi Schill-Kim runs an art gallery next door and said she thought of leaving but decided to stay. “I just love Old Ellicott City. I’ve been here 18 years.”
This was a soft reopening—no ribbon cuttings or grand pronouncements.
Security is being provided for businesses that are still cleaning up. Some remain boarded up on lower Main Street.
Roughly 60 business have opened again, 15 more have decided never to come back after two deadly floods in two years in the historic mill town.
County Executive Allan Kittleman said he believes Ellicott City will come back stronger than ever. He said he supports legislation that would create a temporary moratorium on development in the Tiber River watershed. It is expected to pass the County Council next week.
“I think it’s good for us to take a pause to give us time to evaluate,” Kittleman said.
“There’s no question in my mind that development contributed to the problem,” he said. Kittleman noted “Topography is also an issue.”
A similar moratorium on development failed after flooding in 2016.
The concern is hard, developed surfaces take away soft soil and leave nothing to soak up heavy rains. More than 2 inches an hour inundated the area on May 27th.
WJZ saw many people taking pictures of the newly opened street when the fences came down shortly after 5 o’clock Friday afternoon. Main Street connects Howard County to Baltimore County. Both pedestrian and vehicle traffic were brisk.
There are still a number of ways to help the community in the continuing recovery.
Ellicott City is also remembering Sgt. Eddison “Eddie” Hermand who died while trying to save a woman in the rising waters. Hermand was an Air Force veteran and a member of the National Guard. He was 39 years old.