ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Flood prone Historic Ellicott City is slated to undergo a make-over that could save lives.

Thursday, County Executive Calvin Ball announced about $20 million will be allocated to projects to prevent floods on Main Street.

“If we are going to invest tens of millions of dollars, we want to make sure that we maximize that investment,” said Ball. “It was important for me to not only respect the cultural and historical significance of Ellicott City, but to lessen the amount of flood water that would be coming down the street.”

The project will include culverts to divert water, research and construction for a new tunnel, and the removal of some buildings.

“We have a project to completely demolish the lower four buildings from the former Phoenix up into Tiber Alley,” said Zach Hollenbeck, the project manager.

2016 and 2018 saw double disasters along Main Street, two one-thousand year floods killed three people. People who know and love Main Street believe something has to be done.

“They obviously don’t want to have to tear down historic buildings. This seems like a drastic step, but I feel like that’s probably their only option,” said Steve Madewell of Howard County.

Officials say there is a total of 11 projects and five are completely funded at this point. The work could range from $113 million to $140 million. County Executive Ball said they’ll work to find additional funding before another disaster.

“I know the anxiety our neighbors in Ellicott City feel every time it rains because I feel it too,” says Ball.

Officials say some projects like the Rogers Avenue storm drain have already been completed. Other projects will start in the next 18 months, and some of the bigger events like a tunnel will take longer.

Officials say no one will be displaced.

Ava-joye Burnett

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