ELLICOTT CITY, Md (WMAR) — It's been almost a year since catastrophic flooding tore up old Ellicott City; the second disaster there in two years. In the midst of recovery, Main Street business owners say there's something to be said about the energy of the town 11 months later.
"There’s a little bit of normalcy to it. We’re still rebuilding, and there's a lot left to figure out, but its nice to have familiar faces and excited faces," said Miss Fit owner Shelley Sharkey.
She's working to rebuild Miss Fit after it was destroyed last year. There are a lot of new faces on the street too, like Tim McManus and his family, who are working to open 'Gamers Corps', a retail space and game lounge. He and his family planned to move to the area before the flood last summer, and he says regardless of the threat of another disaster, his unique store needed this unique location.
"Ellicott City’s perfect for it. It’s absolutely perfect for it," said McManus.
Still, business owners want to see long term solutions to the flooding.
"There’s a lot of decisions that people are still making and a lot of livelihoods that kind of hang in the balance," said Sharkey.
Solutions for those problems could come tomorrow when Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announces phase two of his 'Safe and Sound' plan.
"I think tomorrow is very important for the people who live on Main Street and around Main Street and have been affected by the floods," said the deputy director of the Department Public Works, Mark DeLuca, said.
DeLuca has been working closely with Ball on the flood recovery and mitigation efforts and says this phase will be more significant than the first, which focused on immediate solutions like new technology for an alert system and clearing the waterways more frequently. Phase two will lay out more long term plans for flood mitigation.
"The projects as we move forward collectively will make a difference," said DeLuca.
"It would be a shame if they didn’t find the right solution for it, to make sure it's around for my kids' kids to come around," said McManus.
In spite of the challenges this historic town brings, those who have fallen in love are ready for the long haul.
"We’re absolutely excited, looking forward to the things to come and Ellicott City was and is the place to start," said McManus.
"I am very hopeful and excited and I think this is going to be a great new home for us," said Sharkey, talking about her new location opening late summer.
Ball will announce phase two Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at Su Casa on Main Street. He will hold a meeting to get public input on it on May 2.
McManus says 'Gamers Corps' will be open for a few hours during SpringFest of April 27th and will officially open on May 4.