In the wake of major floods in July 2016 and May 2018 that destroyed much of downtown Ellicott City, Howard County has unveiled plans for its potential redesign that would increase its capacity to handle such disasters. They could include a pedestrian bridge over the Patapsco River, and a concert stage, a riverfront park and more parking.
The firm hired to create the vision, Mahan Rykiel Associates, of Baltimore, recommended that Howard County consider replacing 10 buildings on lower Main Street with an open space and the concert stage. The footprint of the buildings, which would be demolished to widen the Tiber River channel, could be outlined with metal frames.
Mahan Rykiel also recommended the county widen sidewalks, raise crosswalks and add a flood warning system, though the county and the firm are limited in the approach to the project due to balancing any plan with historic guidelines; however, it must be built on a hard surface and be designed to handle debris from storms.
One building is proposed to be demolished on upper Main Street, which the firm recommended be converted to a mixed-use that would include a studio area, as well as parking and public facilities.