Three weeks after devastating flooding in Ellicott City, there are signs of progress.Two businesses out of the restricted zone have reopened their doors.
The Clay Ground and Manor Hill Tavern are on the same block of Old Columbia Pike, just feet from Main Street. Fortunately, they did not get a lot of water damage but even being ready to reopen didn't mean people could get to them.
"They are still getting affected by the economy that can’t get down here," Manor Hill Tavern visitor Eric Sollohub said.
"Without them having a place to park, we’d be open but no one could get here. Being a destination, you kind of have to have a place to park," Clay Ground owner Michael Koplow said.
That problem was partially solved Sunday when the county reopened parking lot D, right across the street from the two businesses. That was enough for the tavern to fully restart operations and brought a crowd of people for Father's Day.
"We thought we would come and support our local community and help everyone out," Wendy Sollohub said.
Recovery is progressing faster than after the 2016 flood. County Executive Allan Kittleman announced parts of Main Street will reopen to traffic Tuesday, along with parking spaces at lots B, E, F and G.
“Our public works crews have done a remarkable job repairing the necessary infrastructure to allow us to safely reduce our ‘no access’ footprint on Main Street,” Kittleman said. “I truly appreciate the cooperation and patience of the residents, businesses and property owners while this recovery work was completed.”
"We want the businesses to come back and the businesses can’t come back without the roads being open and that’s certainly gonna give people a lot of hope," Koplow said.
It's not lost on these businesses the struggle their neighbors are going through. 50% of the proceeds from the studio's classes are going back to flood recovery and the tavern is selling glasses to support the cause.
"We are a community and it’s the reason we are all together. It’s the reason why we talk about Ellicott City," Koplow said.
Tuesday, Main Street will be open to traffic west of Old Columbia Pike and east of Maryland Avenue. Vehicles traveling west on Frederick Road from Baltimore County will now be able to cross the Patapsco River Bridge and turn left onto Maryland Avenue to access St. Paul Street and College Avenue. New Cut Road will remain closed to thru traffic because of flood damage.
“By opening this portion of Main Street and these parking lots, we’re helping the businesses and residents who are ready to return,” Councilmen Jon Weinstein, who represents Ellicott City, said. “I would remind anyone traveling down Main Street, especially through West End, to use extreme caution and reduce speeds because of the clean-up and recovery work that is continuing.”