ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Howard County’s flood mitigation plan for Ellicott City continues to move forward, and officials gave an update Monday afternoon, but some business owners said there needs to be greater urgency.
The county has purchased nine buildings on Main Street, once scheduled for demolition. Of those nine, six will be restored in some capacity.
Officials said retention ponds will soon be built to help mitigate flooding.
Archive records owner Jason McMillan wants Howard County to act on its flood plan with more urgency.
“I realize there’s politics and bureaucracy involved, but if there’s anything that can be done to make that move faster, I just want it to move faster,” McMillan said.
He has his reasons. He’s now in his third location in just four years. His original location was south on Main Street.
“And, that got destroyed in the 2016 flood. And, my second location was up at the top of the hill, and that got destroyed in the second flood,” McMillan said.
Two one-in-one-thousand-year floods in two years hit Ellicott City in 2016 and 2018, flooding dozens of businesses and killing three people.
“If and when the next storm comes, we’ll be better prepared,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball.
Monday, Howard County officials announced the county’s progress on its flood mitigation plans, which have included cleaning out debris from drains and streams.
More flood warning speakers were added to warn of flash floods. The county is also starting soon on retention ponds, including one at the interchange of Routes 29 and 40.
“This isn’t a silver bullet project, but its one of many, when added together, that will reduce the waters on Main Street,” said Mark DeLuca with Howard County Public Works.
“There’s definitely progress being made. We could always just use a little bit more,” said Su Casa furniture store owner Nicholas Johnson.
“We hear and see a lot about timelines, but we don’t see actual dozers moving dirt around,” said Liz Walsh, with Howard County Council, District 1 councilwoman (D).
Clean up is still visible on Main Street. The old Caplans buildings have been cleaned out and stabilized.
For McMillan and others, who like the plan, they want progress sooner.
“I am just wanting them to move faster,” McMillan said.
The Army Corps of Engineers is conducting a study of Howard County’s flood mitigation plan, which county officials hope will be released soon.