The Phoenix Emporium, a long-time staple of Historic Ellicott City, plans to acquire and merge with the Ellicott Mills Brewing Co. on upper Main Street.

Howard County’s negotiation to acquire The Phoenix Emporium building is still being finalized as a part of the Ellicott City Safe and Sound Plan.

To date, Howard County Government has acquired nine of the 10 buildings it planned to purchase on lower Main Street. Six of these buildings will now have portions preserved. The next step is partial removal of sections of the buildings over the stream channel. To complete renovation of these buildings, the county must undergo a federal Section 106 process to assess the historical impact.

Downtown Ellicott City saw great progress in 2019, said County Executive Calvin Ball, as nearly 30 business opened or reopened in the historic town. The Safe and Sound plan “is heavily focused on the economic vitality of Main Street’s businesses, providing relief for business owners and residents impacted by floods, and creating a more community-driven process for how decisions are made regarding Ellicott City.”

Additional flood mitigation efforts and public safety improvements in 2019 included:

Flood Mitigation

  • Two projects, the Quaker Mill Pond and the H-7 pond, are slated to start construction within the next year, while the Maryland Avenue and 8600 Main Street Culvert projects are anticipated to start construction in fiscal 2021.
  • Rogers Avenue storm drain improvements are expected to be completed later this month, weather permitting.
  • The county has acquired the property needed for the H-4 pond, taking 34 units out of the development pipeline and securing 11 acres for upstream flood mitigation.
  • Progress has been made on North Tunnel alignments. During the next year, Howard County will study the subsurface conditions, including the location and nature of rock along each of the alignments, and another study to fine tune and select the best vertical and horizontal layout of the tunnel.
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is conducting an independent study of the county’s flood mitigation plan to ensure it is taking the best approach to protect Downtown Ellicott City.

Ensuring Public Safety

  • For the temporary emergency alert system, a third speaker array was purchased and installed in parking lot C and emergency alert tones are now four times as loud in this area. The Office of Emergency Management also worked with the National Weather Service (NWS) to create a new designation for Historic Ellicott City. Now, when there is a flash flood warning that impacts the Tiber/Hudson Watershed, the NWS will specifically list “Historic Ellicott City” as an impacted area, instead of Ellicott City as a whole.
  • An enhanced clearing the waterways removed nearly 10 tons of debris last year.
  • Significant progress has also been made to allow the public to access private property during a flood event. This is particularly important on the lower end of Main Street, where there are limited ways for people to get off the street if flooding occurs.

More information about the Safe & Sound plan can be found at