RadioOnFire.com – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced Monday he’s chosen a plan to stop catastrophic flooding in Ellicott City, the likes of which it experienced in 2016 and 2018
“Ellicott City is a town that has endured repeated flooding since it was founded almost 250 years ago,” Ball said. “It has flooded from the top down and from the bottom up.”
Ball picked plan “3G.7.0,” also known as plan Number 5 in his Ellicott City ‘Safe and Sound’ plan, after presenting five different plans to the community. This plan would involve building the North Tunnel to funnel water away from Main Street, demolishing four buildings along historic Main Street, including the Phoenix Emporium, Discoveries, Great Panes Art Glass Studio and the former Bean Hollow building, among other improvements.
“We would still try to save some of the historic features,” Ball said.
The plan also includes five dry flood mitigation ponds, and floodplain and conveyance projects in the West End.
“Happening within the next year, we will begin construction on the Quaker Mill Mitigation Pond, design the Maryland Avenue culverts, acquire West End properties, finish the design of the Emory Church street drainage improvements, and put out an RFP for the North Tunnel.”
The project is expected to cost between $113.5 to $140.5 million, and county officials admit they will have to find funding from year to year. The county has $21.1 million in state and county funding for the project so far.
“When choosing a plan, I wanted to know if there were any options available that prioritized public safety and allowed us to save at least some of the 10 buildings previously slated for demolition,” Ball said.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will review the plan and write a report later this year. The county will adapt the plan if any changes are recommended.
“The time for Band-Aid fixes is over, and this is a long-term solution,” Ball said.
Ball would like to start implementing the plan by 2020 and finish it within five years.