Ellicott City, MD: Long Term Flood Recovery

A stronger and more resilient Ellicott City

PEA partnered with the Howard County Executive’s office and the Department of Planning and Zoning to design and facilitate a series of four “rECovery” meetings held October through December, in the aftermath of a July 30 storm that flooded Ellicott City’s historic Main Street and West End. These forums brought the community together to learn about recovery efforts of nearby jurisdictions (e.g., Frederick, Annapolis) that faced similar challenges and provided a forum to share ideas to help Ellicott City rebuild stronger and more resilient.

The first forum focused on the residents and business owners that had been hardest hit by the flood to help them gear up for the long-term recovery efforts. Subsequent sessions focused specifically on rebuilding and the environment, rebuilding and economic development, and rebuilding and historic preservation. Overall, several hundred residents and stakeholders participated in the process.

PEA also worked with Howard County to enable the community and key stakeholder groups (engineers, designers, preservationists, the business community, etc.) to propose “project Ideas” for how to rebuild Ellicott City as a model, resilient city.  The ideas were organized and categorized as either part of a long-term process or as a potential short-term, ready-to-go strategy. A county-appointed Community Advisory Group published a report in January 2017 that summarized the recommendations for these projects.

In the spring of 2017, Howard County will be hiring an urban design/engineering firm to consult on the development of a long-term Master Plan and Master Watershed Plan for Historic Ellicott City. This plan should be completed by early 2018.