As Ellicott City clean up continues, officials promise Preservation Center, but neighbors want more

Posted at 4:17 PM, Aug 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-30 18:11:17-04

You can see the progress on Main Street in Ellicott City, a month after the devastating flood. Businesses have their lights on, and construction crews continue rebuilding a block down the road.

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman compared the fast work to an ant farm.

Tuesday afternoon Kittleman and Preservation Maryland held a press conference announcing a Preservation Center will open in the coming weeks to provide financial guidance for property owners.

While the center will provide those affected with tax credit programs and workshops, neighbors say they need more.

"If the Preservation Center were able to connect home owners with grants and rebuilding programs that would enable them to purchase a tankless water heater instead of putting it back in the basement, then yes that would be a huge help," Gayle Killen said.

Killen has been working for the past month on her home as well as helping her neighbors. She's been frustrated with how long it's taken to get the tools they need on the west end and wants the county to help them rebuild smarter to protect their homes in the next flood.

"Certainly the west end is as important to me as any other area of the city that has damage, and some people would even argue I spend more time in the west end talking to the people because there's residents, here in the business district of Main Street most people aren't here," Kittleman said.

Killen agreed that Kittleman has worked to get things done, but a neighbor said he's in over his head on this.

Volunteers from local churches and other organizations helped Killen and her neighbors in the mean time. She said that's the only way the work has become manageable.

Looking forward Killen wants to see the water shed map, so she and her neighbors can figure out how to divert water away from their homes. She also wants to use modern technology to fortify her home so she can still have utilities during a storm, like putting certain electronics above the water table.

Preservation Maryland said they are thinking about the same thing, talking with planers to create stronger structures in the businesses at the bottom of Main Street and create better drainage systems. 

Kittleman hopes to move the barricade back to Tiber Alley by Labor Day, so people can come out and support the businesses.