ELLICOTT CITY, MD. (WJZ) — The future of Ellicott City’s Main Street is taking shape as county leaders announce their plan to prevent flooding on this twice flood-ravaged street.
Howard County leaders announced Monday they will tear down four buildings on the historic stretch and build a drainage tunnel- that will come at a steep cost.READ MORE: Crisis Inside The Classroom: Baltimore County Teachers Rally, Demand Change
The final plan looks different from the one proposed, shortly after last year’s flooding that called for demolishing ten buildings on lower Main Street.
“I wanted to keep more water off of lower Main Street and away from the west end, and I wanted to do it as soon as possible,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball.
To do that, the county executive said it will take five years and up to $140 million.
His plan calls for the construction of an underground tunnel that will parallel Main Street and divert stormwater, with the demolition of the four buildings.
“Urgency, public safety and a plan that is not just a bandaid, but a real solution.” Ball said.
But for those who live and work on Main Street, there are still questions about the future of the area.READ MORE: COVID Outbreaks At Baltimore-Area Schools Raises Concerns For Parents
“I’m in limbo. 40 years of working my buns off, is down the tubes,” said Sally Fox Tennant, owner of Discoveries.
Tennant owns Discoveries, where bright pink signs tacked on a now boarded up storefront tell customers she has temporarily relocated.
Monday’s announcement, a one-two punch for the longtime business owner, who lived above her store until it took on 17 feet of water.
This building that housed her shop and her home are now slated for teardown.
“Everything in my life was invested there,” Tennant said.
The county has already purchased seven buildings, though some will lose just the rear additions.
County Executive Ball said that the combination with demolition and drainage improvements will drop the risk of flooding to less than a foot of water on the lowest end of this historic stretch.MORE NEWS: Preventing Mass Shootings: Seizing Guns Under ‘Red Flag’ Laws From Baltimore To Buffalo
“We will do this right so that we will not have to do it again.” Ball said.