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After 2 devastating floods in 2 years, Ellicott City businesses question if they should rebuild

Posted at 6:44 PM, May 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-29 18:08:04-04

Two years after devastating flooding, Ellicott City business owners once again face the difficult choice of when and if to rebuild. 

RELATED: Flash flooding washes away homes and businesses in Ellicott City

"It’s a little bit numbing I guess. When I heard about it yesterday and I started seeing video and images, I was thinking, 'why are people posting something that happened two years ago?' and then you notice that this is different and just far more severe than last time," Su Casa owner Nicholas Johnson said.

He reflects on the last 24 hours, reliving the flooding nightmare of 2016. 

"So you just starting thinking and worrying about all the things that happened last time and if this is worse, then how much worse can it be and what are you going to do this time?"

Devastating flooding ripped through the town Sunday evening, the second 1,000 flood in two years. 


"There was no longer a sidewalk. There was no longer a road," Main St. resident Tom Scott said.


He was in his apartment when the water rose to the second floor and had to escape through the roof. 


"They had a fire truck ladder across the river and then we had to crawl across the ladder to the other side of the river," Scott said.


Both Scott and Johnson are left waiting to see how what's left of their belongings. Clean up is underway and owners and neighbors are allowed to return to Main St. Tuesday morning to see how much damage was done. While they don't know the extent yet, they know it is much worse than 2016. 


"We know there is more water. There is more mud. We have more inventory this time because we put a significant effort into this location after the last event," Johnson said. 


Ellicott City was just getting back to normal, and there were actually more businesses open than in 2016. 


"Thinking of all the stores that have just opened up or are getting ready to open up and they’re gone again. It's so sad," Catonsville resident Barbie Crug said. 


"I feel sorry for the people, I really do. This is part of our community and it’s gone," Edward Crug said. "They made an effort to rebuild they spent of lot of money and effort to build and it's gone again and no they got to start over again it’s horrible."


Johnson is one of those people. He worked to reopen Su Casa after the 2016 storm. 


"The community support last time was truly the only reason we rebuilt and reopened," Johnson said. 


He's been in business there for almost two decades and now he doesn't know what's next. 


" I think the amount of infrastructure work that needs to be done is probably years worth of work and you can’t just sit and say we will open again in a couple of years," Johnson said. 


But he says the support came in 2016 and he, along with others suffering from the destruction, hope the community with stand with them Ellicott City Strong.


"Sometimes, things like this are out of your control and you rely on the support of other people and I can’t stress enough how good that support was the last time around," Johnson said. 


"When the flood happened two years ago, I knew I still wanted to stick around. It was the power of the town that made is amazing. I’m actually not sure now, but I love this town. It’s the only place I’ve ever felt like home," Scott said.