Nobody wants to do nothing.
I fully support the proposal by The People's Voice’s Lisa Markovitz, among others, to amend the two pending #HoCoMd Council bills — TAO1-FY2019 and CB61-2018, to fund certain Ellicott City flood mitigation projects on an emergency basis — to explicitly exclude demolition on lower Main.
Otherwise, I fully support using those re-appropriated funds for every other cited purpose, now. Buy out the property owners and tenants too weary or worried to come back. Support those who remain, with flood-proofing grants and risk communication and emergency preparedness plans. And install the already-engineered flood-mitigation measures recommended further up the hill — including even the selective demolition/relocation of two buildings where the Tiber crosses under Main. Let's do as many of those projects as we possibly can find funding for, from every possible source. Right now. Let’s do all of that, right away.
Meantime, if we’re expanding the concept of “opportunity sites” for new stormwater management and conveyance projects — beyond properties already in local government’s domain — let’s go back and see if we can’t find some acreage up the hills where we can’t do even more good at the bottom. Maybe West End Service, along the Tiber. Or further up old Columbia Pike, around Wilhide’s. How about the Sheppard Pratt property, up New Cut. And, above the Hudson, at The Towns at Courthill site. And why not seek out those BGE rights-of-way? At the last flood workgroup meeting, we learned of a soil amendment called “biochar" which could be incorporated into all manner of upstream acreage, including BGE rights-of-way and even private properties, where it would soak up significant volumes of stormwater. Not just BGE, there's probably a whole lot of private landowners up in the hills who’d give their acreage to an innovative concept like that, tomorrow. Everybody wants to help. Everybody.
And everybody wants what's safe and right for this old mill town, and for all of the people who live here, and work here and love here. Everybody. We all want to get this right. We have to.