By Ava-joye Burnett

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Howard County leaders voted Monday to approved a multi-million proposal that could prevent future flooding.

More than four months after flash flooding destroyed parts of historic Ellicott City and killed one person, the county council voted on a drastic plan that could prevent future flooding.

The council approved a one-year plan that would require an estimated amount of $15 million.

The money will be used to make major changes to the landscape, including removing buildings.

Leaders are hoping the city will get financial assistance from the state and federal government in the upcoming years.

On May 27, historic Ellicott City experienced devastating flooding that left one person dead.

It’s a storyline Main St. was all too familiar with.

After studies and public hearings, leaders introduced a multi-million dollar plan they believe will help prevent future flooding.

“This is something that has to happen now. We really want to move forward so we can protect lives,” Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman said previously.

The five-year plan could run between $40-$50 million price tag will pay for changes like, removing 17 buildings that restrict the flow of rising water, and changes to the infrastructure, including expanding the channel.

“The county has invested over $30 million in repairs over the last two floods,” said Howard County Council member Jon Weinstein. “This plan of $40 to $50 million is a marginal increase to bring about a solution to the problem.”

Some of the buildings that are most at-risk were built directly over the Tiber Creek, and when the water rose, it had nowhere to go but inside.

Phoenix Emporium is one of those businesses. The owner said six feet of water rushed in during the last flood.

With the proposal going through, Mark Hemmis’ building could be torn down to make room for Mother Nature.

“We are moving forward on a one relocation that we are excited about,” Hemmis said. “We are sad to lose this location, but it looks like it may have been an inevitability.”

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A previous version of this story discussed only a five-year plan that was to be approved, ranging between $40-$50 million. It has since been updated to disclose that the board only approved a one-year plan when the county council voted after this story was originally published.

Ava-joye Burnett


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