Committee formed to help distribute more than $500,000 in donations for Ellicott City recovery

Posted at 7:09 PM, Aug 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-16 06:14:05-04

A number of businesses and homes on Main Street were impacted in some way by the flash flooding last month, but few have footage of how destructive the water was.

In just three minutes, it poured into Craig Coyne Jewelers then busted the door open. The nearly 9-foot high security camera shows how fast the water filled the room. And just as quickly as it entered, it drains away leaving a disgusting mess in its place.

“You cannot plan for this type of devastation. I mean the level here, it's just a catastrophe,” said Sam Coyne, president and co-founder of Craig Coyne Jewelers in Ellicott City.

Coyne tried to plan for it though and had purchased flood insurance to prepare for a natural disaster like this one. He thinks that will cover the building repairs but everything else could fall on him.

“We’re approaching half a million dollars in loss and everyday that I'm not open I continue to hemorrhage money,” said Coyne.

That includes the nearly $200,000 worth of inventory lost in the flooding. A GoFundMe page has helped cover his insurance deductible but he's worried about receiving assistance in the future.

“How they disperse the money, how quickly they disperse it, is going to weigh heavily on my decision to stay or go,” said Coyne. "I think I'm going to have to sell my home to keep my business afloat."

Howard County Council Vice-chair Jon Weinstein could play into that decision. He was asked to lead the newly formed recovery fund committee, a group in charge of recommending how more than $500,000 in donations should be distributed.

“Our charge is to create a process, an application, and to facilitate those applications to get funds out to folks,” said Councilman Weinstein.

He added that they'll look at different variables such as urgency as well as long term but that it won't be an easy task.

“There is really no shortage of need out there and the more people can contribute, the more people that can be helped to recover from the flood,” said Weinstein.

The committee meets for the first time on Wednesday. They hope to have an application ready in the next week or so. In addition, they will not be making any decisions, only recommending how the United Way and Ellicott City Partnership should hand out the money.

For more information on how you can contribute to those affected by the flooding, check out this resource.