Vehicle Access Helps Cleanup, Recovery Continue Along Ellicott City’s Main Street
Progress has continued along Ellicott City’s Main Street, as dozens of vehicles and scores of residents, merchants and building owners returned to the avenue during the recent five-day access window, which concluded Monday, Aug. 22.
Since, the road has been closed to the public. It is hoped that Main Street will reopen to pedestrians on Friday, Sept. 16. For more information or assistance, call 410-313-2900 and continue to visit the recovery resource page at www.ECfloodrecovery.org.
Preservation Resource Center to Help With Flood Recovery
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman announced that Preservation Maryland will open a temporary resource center in Ellicott City to assist owners of historic properties in their recovery efforts from the July 30 flash flood.
The center will provide technical assistance to help owners rebuild damaged historic properties along Main Street, connect them with consultants and contractors, help them with the historic district review process and provide them with information on relevant local, state and federal financial assistance and tax credit programs.
The center will be located at a to-be-determined location on Main Street and is expected to operate for nine months. It will be overseen by Renee Novak, who was hired by Preservation Maryland specifically for this effort. In addition to the technical assistance, the center is expected to conduct workshops and offer talks on specific preservation topics this fall.
Nicholas Redding, executive director of Preservation Maryland, said the resource center is being partially funded through donations to Preservation Maryland’s Flood Recovery Fund, as well as via contributions from several corporations. Redding said the full amount needed to operate the center has yet to be raised and that interested donors are encouraged to go to www.presmd.org/ecflood.
Kittleman also announced plans to solicit nominations of those whose significant actions on the evening of the July 30 flood deserve recognition. Those nominations may be made at www.howardcountymd.gov/ECNomination.
Town Hall on Ellicott City Flood Rebuilding Efforts Set for Sept. 15
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman announced plans for a Recovery Town Hall meeting on Thursday, Sept. 15, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Veterans Elementary School, 4355 Montgomery Road, Ellicott City.
Kittleman will provide updates on recovery efforts as well as field questions from residents, businesses and property owners. Jim Robey, senior adviser for community recovery and chairman of the Historic Ellicott City Recovery Community Advisory Group, will also be in attendance.
“We want to continue to keep the lines of communication open with those impacted by the flood,” said Kittleman. “This is also another opportunity for us to hear of any of their unmet needs. We are committed to rebuilding an even better Ellicott City but we want to do it in a collaborative way.”
In addition, Kittleman named former Howard County Fire & Rescue Services Chief Joseph Herr as the Ellicott City recovery project manager. Kittleman said Herr was the perfect person for this role because he understands both the community and the workings of county government.
“This project called out for someone with Joe’s background and intimate knowledge of Ellicott City,” said Kittleman. “Joe knows the fabric of the community and what Historic Ellicott City means to people around here.”
In this role, Herr will coordinate the county’s comprehensive recovery efforts in Historic Ellicott City, serving as a conduit for community needs and government operations. A resident of Ellicott City, Herr was county fire chief from 2000–2009.
County officials continue to work on details for a planned reopening of Ellicott City to pedestrian traffic by Sept. 16, weather permitting. Repairs continue on public infrastructure, particularly with the installation of temporary sidewalks, storm drain and riverbed cleanup and utilities.
Kittleman Applauds Additional State Funds to Assist Flood Victims
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman praised action by the Maryland Board of Public Works to provide $2.5 million in funding to assist small businesses and property owners in Ellicott City as they recover from the devastating flooding.
In a 2-0 vote, the board approved the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) as an eligible fund manager, and granted the department $2.5 million from the Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Account to make loans to eligible businesses in Ellicott City.
Using these funds, DHCD will provide short-term and long-term assistance, in the form of zero and low interest loans, to enable affected businesses to re-open either in Ellicott City or in a temporary, alternate location. The loans also will allow for business and property owners to re-stock inventory, complete repairs, replace furniture and fixtures, reimburse for lost revenues and working capital and meet other immediate needs.
Additionally, the Hogan administration is requesting the Legislative Policy Committee to approve the transfer of $2.5 million from the Catastrophic Event Fund to DHCD’s Neighborhood BusinessWorks program to provide additional aid to Ellicott City businesses and property owners affected by the flooding.
Schuh Announces $5M for Waterway Improvement Public-Private Partnership
Touring the site of a future waterway improvement project in Gambrills, Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh announced funding for a new public-private partnership program to assist Anne Arundel County in cleaning up its more than 530 miles of shoreline.
The fiscal year 2017 budget includes $5 million in funding for stormwater projects designed and constructed in partnership between Anne Arundel County government and the private sector. Vendors from the private sector will make proposals on a package of projects that will remove pollutants like phosphorous and nitrogen from the Chesapeake Bay.
A request for proposal for this funding will be issued in the next few weeks, as these P3 projects will help supplement the county’s stormwater program and help meet federal waterway cleanup deadlines in a cost-effective and efficient way.
Current federal and state mandates could require the county to undertake more than $900 million in waterway improvement projects; the current fee in place to fund projects will support $250 million of these upgrades. The Schuh administration is pursuing public-private partnerships as one strategy to help ensure the county can meets its federal and state obligations.
The announcement took place before a tour of one of the county’s newest planned waterway improvement projects, Towers Branch Outfall Retrofit. The $1.9 million project will include the installation of a Step Pool Storm Conveyance (SPSC) system, which uses pools to help convert surface stormwater discharges to shallow groundwater discharges via a sand and woodchip filter bed, which mitigates nutrient pollution. It is slated for completion by late 2017.
Anne Arundel to Launch Expedited Permit Review Program
Keeping with his commitment to reform government and reduce permitting wait times, County Executive Steve Schuh has announced the launch of an expedited permit review program.
The expedited review process allows citizens to hire, at their own expense, certified private sector engineers to review land use construction plans. All expedited project reviews will be thoroughly examined to determine compliance with applicable law, and county code requires no application be recommended for approval by a certified reviewer until full compliance is verified. The results of an expedited review will be verified by the county on an accelerated basis and approved by county staff.
“Citizens should not be forced to endure a land use process that is bogged down in red tape and unnecessary delays on projects,” said Schuh. “With the new expedited review program, we are making county government more efficient and effective for all our residents. This process strikes the right balance between efficient government and effective compliance with our strict environmental and administrative requirements. Programs like these help bring common sense to county government.”
The Office of Planning and Zoning and the Department of Inspections and Permits have the authority to adopt regulations, forms and compliance checklists to implement the Expedited Review Program. More information can be found online at www.aacounty.org/departments/inspections-and-permits/engineering/expedited-review-program/index.html.
Constellation Buys Retail Electricity, Natural Gas Business From ConEdison Solutions
Constellation, a subsidiary of Exelon Corp., has entered into a definitive agreement with ConEdison Solutions, a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, to acquire its retail electricity and natural gas business, serving more than 560,000 commercial, industrial, public sector and residential customers across 12 northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and midwestern states, Texas and the District of Columbia.
The purchase strengthens Constellation’s position as the nation’s largest competitive energy supplier to more than 2.5 million residential and business customers across the continental United States.
Constellation will acquire ConEdison Solutions’ retail electricity and natural gas customer contracts and associated supply contracts. ConEdison Solutions will retain its focus on renewable energy, sustainable services and energy efficiency solutions for commercial, industrial, residential and government customers.
“This agreement provides an opportunity to grow our retail electricity and natural gas business in strategically attractive markets where we’re best suited to match load served with Exelon generation assets,” said Joseph Nigro, CEO of Constellation. “ConEdison Solutions has a reputation for delivering value to customers, and our combined companies will continue that tradition with a broad array of energy products and services at competitive prices.”
Cardin, Mikulski Announce Fed Funds to Increase Safety, Efficiency at Tipton Airport
U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski have announced that the Tipton Airport Authority has been awarded an $834,462 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to rehabilitate the existing runway apron at the 350-acre facility, which is located in western Anne Arundel County.
“Tipton Airport plays an important role in meeting the commercial and recreational aviation needs of people in Central Maryland. Despite being a relatively small airport, these federal funds will help Tipton remain a major regional economic engine,” said Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “This federal investment ensures that the Tipton Airport can continue to safely and efficiently move people and products in and out of Maryland. Over the years, Team Maryland has fought hard to keep the jobs supported by Tipton Airport in Maryland; this federal investment continues that tradition.”
“Our general aviation airports play a key role in maintaining Maryland’s robust economy,” said Mikulski, vice chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which funds the Department of Transportation. “These funds in the federal checkbook mean improvements to the Tipton Airport infrastructure that are critical to keeping Anne Arundel’s economy moving and Marylanders on the go.”
The federal funding will be used to rehabilitate 13,000 square yards of the existing apron to maintain structural integrity of the surface before it becomes unsafe for use. When it opened in 1999, Tipton Airport was the first new airport to open in Maryland in 20 years. Originally part of Fort Meade, the airport was transferred from the Department of Defense to the Tipton Airport Authority in 1995 and underwent substantial environmental cleanups, including the removal of unexploded ordinance. Tipton is also home to a number of aircraft used by local law enforcement.