A flood prevention plan would tear down 19 buildings in historic downtown Ellicott City. (Kim Hairston, Baltimore Sun video)
Nicholas Redding in his recent commentary, “Ellicott City's economy depends on it's past — don't destroy it" (Aug. 28), writes of Ellicott City's economy and the flooding. First of all, Ellicott City's economy is thriving, but Old Ellicott City's economy is destroyed already. Most property owners and businesses are not rebuilding or coming back because it is too dangerous and financially impossible.
After three floods in seven years, my family and I have cleaned up and rebuilt a total of six times. My home on West End and my business on Main Street have both been destroyed by each flood. Hope is gone and now reality has set in.
I welcome Allan Kittleman and Howard County's new plan to enlarge the Hudson and Tiber tributaries and get rid of the major chokepoints that cause so much damage including demolishing some buildings. A total of 14 buildings out of 300 or so between the business district and residential West End is a very small price to pay to save lives. I personally would favor more. Since 2011 after the flooding from Tropical Storm Lee, I have been volunteering hundreds of hours, first with our own group, "EC Flood Solutions” and then with the county’s "flood workgroup" and then the “community advisory group" to try to find solutions to the flooding.
I don't remember seeing or hearing from Mr. Redding at any of these meetings. Perhaps he came down to help the flood victims after each flood, but I can only assume from his op-ed not mentioning once the people's pain and suffering, financial ruin, and lives lost that perhaps the buildings are what he cares about most. The county's plans to make Old Ellicott City a more resilient place and save lives arewhat us residents and property owners need at this time. If Mr Redding wants to preserve these few buildings, I would ask him to put his money where is mouth is and buy them. Then he can do what he wants with them including cleaning and rebuilding them every two years.
At this point in our lives, we don't need Monday morning quarterbacks. We need to get people out harm’s way, stop the bleeding, build a more resilient community, stop further development in the watershed and then Old Ellicott City will have a much stronger and lasting economy in the future.