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Community Advisory Group Reports on Ellicott City Recovery

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The Ellicott City Flood Recovery Community Advisory Group (CAG) has presented its findings to Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman. Among the group’s recommendations are actions to mitigate future flood damage and a continuation of the public engagement that has occurred for the last six months.

The group was formed by Kittleman just three weeks after the July 30 flood. Chaired by former Sen. James Robey, the CAG’s mission involved organizing more than 300 project ideas. The CAG met 18 times over six months. The project ideas were captured during meetings with the community, design and engineering professionals and county staff, as well as from CAG members and individuals online.

In the weeks immediately after the flood, the group provided community input on disaster response issues, including resident and property owner access to the restricted flood zone and suggested ways to streamline services to those impacted. As the effort shifted into the recovery phase, the CAG crafted a vision for Ellicott City that would help guide the rebuilding and preservation in the historic community.

Ideas considered by the CAG were organized into four recovery pillars: rebuilding, preservation, environment and economy.

  • More than 160 ideas for rebuilding involved a range of suggestions including improved parking, better signage, easements for maintaining the channel, flood-proofing of buildings and mitigation efforts in the watershed to “slow the flow” of water reaching the historic district.
  • Preservation ideas included incentives to maintain Main Street’s historic features and appeal, and efforts to restore public spaces and improve accessibility.
  • The environment concepts included suggestions ranging from smaller “backyard” projects to large-scale engineering improvements to manage the volume of water reaching the town.
  • Suggestions related to the economy ranged from supporting rebuilding efforts of local businesses to branding and marketing the new Main Street district.

Additionally, the CAG offered suggestions for revising building standards within the watershed, modifying traffic laws and widening sidewalks to improve pedestrian safety and creating a flood warning system. The full CAG report is available at www.howardcountymd.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=W7HawvZaw1M%3d&portalid=0.