Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman provided a timeline for several projects in the Ellicott City recovery plan today, but said no date has been set for the complete reopening of Main Street.
Kittleman described several projects in the upcoming weeks that will shrink the perimeter around Main Street's "no-access" area. On Wednesday, the western portion of Main Street that sustained the least amount of damage will be reopened. This includes pedestrian and vehicle access from Ellicott Mills Drive to Court Avenue, and on Old Columbia Pike to Main Street. Businesses in this area and along Tonge Row will be reopened.
"I want to remind you, though, that parking will be tight," Kittleman said at an Ellicott City press conference.
There is still no on-street parking on Main Street. Limited parking is available in lot "D" by Roussey Lane, but Kittleman recommended visitors park along Ellicott Mills Drive. Repaving along Merryman and Hill streets is scheduled to begin Thursday or Friday, weather permitting. During repaving, residents of that area will be able to park in lot "F" near the top of Main Street. Half of lot "F" will be reopened to the public Saturday.
"We will also be providing another seven days of credentialed access to those businesses along Tiber Alley," Kittleman said.
This credentialed access is intended to provide businesses more time to clean up. Kittleman said several businesses have been cleared to open, such as The Wine Bin and The Judge's Bench.
"I think it's an important sign that we are moving forward," Kittleman said. Still, other businesses depend on the reopening of Main Street to open their doors again.
BGE is in the process of installing a new, 4-inch natural gas line on Main Street from Court Avenue to Maryland Avenue, connecting nearly 70 properties. Sidewalks still need to be repaired and buildings need to be stabilized, a process that he assured would take a long time.
"It's a constantly evolving situation," Kittleman said.
In the meantime, he is still pushing for an extension of the emergency declaration. The extension is now waiting approval by the County Council. For those still wanting to help in recovery, Kittleman said the best thing would be to keep away for now.
"Please, if you don't have a real reason to be here, don't come just to gawk or sightsee," Kittleman said.