County Executive Calvin Ball provided updates on the progress of Ellicott City Safe & Sound. He highlighted the $20.2 million in his proposed capital budget for fiscal 2021, announced the final acquisition of the 10 properties on lower Main Street, provided updates on the federal section 106 process, and lower Main Street stabilization and preservation efforts.

“In the midst of these challenging times, we continue to move our Ellicott City Safe and Sound plan forward, ensuring our historic town will thrive for years to come,” said Ball.

“We’ve committed capital funds, including anticipated state aid, for flood mitigation efforts – and completed the final acquisition of the lower Main [Street] properties, allowing us to begin taking the next steps in preservation and flood mitigation. These are tough times for all our small businesses, and we will continue to work with all the residents and business owners through our Ellicott City Safe and Sound Plan as we make sure Ellicott City is protected and preserved.”

Ball announced the Ellicott City Safe and Sound Plan on Dec. 28, 2018. The final plan selected last May will reduce flood waters on Main Street to less than a foot in a 100-year storm and approximately three feet in a storm the scale of the July 2016 flood.

Lower Main Street Building Acquisition

Howard County announced the process for acquiring the Phoenix Emporium building is now complete, thus all 10 buildings the county intended to obtain on lower Main Street have been purchased. Six of these buildings that were previously scheduled for demolition will now have portions preserved. The next step is partial removal of the sections of the buildings over the stream channel. To complete this and subsequent renovation of these buildings, the county needs to complete the federal Section 106 process to assess the historical impacts.

Federal Section 106 Process

Howard County has been addressing the Federal Section 106 process as part of the larger joint permit process through the Army Corps of Engineers and Maryland Department of the Environment since September 2019. The next step in the process is a public hearing, which was anticipated to take place this spring. In the wake of the current global COVID-19 pandemic, that meeting has been postponed while relevant agencies evaluate options for holding the meeting virtually.