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Public weighs in on Ellicott City Flood Mitigation Plan

Posted at 11:29 PM, Sep 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-18 01:21:05-04

For months the public and Howard County officials have been going back and forth on how to keep historic Ellicott City safe from flooding.  Monday night, there was another public meeting to discuss the plan that aims to save lives but could mean the destruction of historic property and Main Street.

Some say Ellicott City’s Flood Mitigation Plan as it stands, doesn’t make the cut.  

"I'm not an engineer, I'm not a hydrologist, but what I can do is read a graph and when the graph says there's 6-8 feet of water traveling at 3 times the minimum safe standard, that’s not safe, said Charles Kyler, an Ellicott City resident.

Others say the council needs to investigate more before making a decision that could reduce life-threatening flooding; something Ellicott City has battled twice in two years.

"We want to really make sure that we understand what will happen once those buildings come down, the effect that will have and there aren’t better possibilities," Director of Advocacy with Preservation Maryland, Elly Cowan, told WMAR 2 News.

Then there are some residents like Beth Woodruff....

"Dr. Ball your kids are about my son's age.  Imagine having to put life jackets on them and hope and pray to the universe that you’re going to get them out ok," Woodruff said to council members.

Woodruff and her son call Main Street home.  They ’re in favor of the $50 million dollar flood mitigation plan -  part of which includes demolishing roughly 5% of the buildings in the flood-prone historic district.

The plan also calls for building culverts and expanding the stream planning to avoid flooding. County leaders said under the plan the historic buildings can be moved but safeguarding lives is most important.

The council could vote on the plan as early as October 1.