Reopen­ing of Main Street in El­li­cott City will be de­layed

County ex­ec­u­tive re­sponds to busi­nesses’ push­back

Baltimore Sun - - AROUND THE REGION - By Fa­timah Waseem fwaseem@balt­

Howard County of­fi­cials are de­lay­ing the reopen­ing of El­li­cott City’s his­toric Main Street af­ter push­back from mer­chants and prop­erty own­ers who say they need more time to re­cover from the deadly July flash flood.

The county had planned a full open­ing of Main Street on Tues­day, but Howard County Ex­ec­u­tive Al­lan Kit­tle­man is seek­ing to push it to Oct. 6.

Mean­while, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama on Fri­day au­tho­rized fed­eral dis­as­ter aid for the re­cov­ery ef­forts, though the amount of money is still to be de­ter­mined. Last month, Gov. Larry Ho­gan made a re­quest for $7.6 mil­lion.

Of­fi­cials say the July 30 flood, which killed two peo­ple, dis­placed nearly 200 res­i­dents and dam­aged dozens of busi­nesses, caused an es­ti­mated $23 mil­lion in dam­age.

Faced with the prospect of reopen­ing the street next week, mer­chants and prop­erty own­ers told Kit­tle­man at a town hall meet­ing Wed­nes­day that they needed more time to clean and se­cure the area.

Kit­tle­man later said he agreed.

“I ap­pre­ci­ate the in­put we heard from those who at­tended the town hall,” Kit­tle­man said. “Those are the folks who live and work along Main Street and we want to give them the ad­di­tional time they re­quested.”

The county ex­ec­u­tive is call­ing on the Howard County Coun­cil to ex­tend a for­mal state of emer­gency in his­toric El­li­cott City to match that date. The state of emer­gency al­lows the county to con­tinue to con­trol ac­cess to the area as busi­nesses re­build.

Kit­tle­man called Obama’s dec­la­ra­tion of aid “wel­come news,” say­ing the money will “help us im­ple­ment long-term flood mit­i­ga­tion projects to re­build El­li­cott City.”

The dec­la­ra­tion opens up fund­ing that can be used to­ward in­fra­struc­ture re­pair, haz­ard mit­i­ga­tion, de­bris re­moval and other costs. Kit­tle­man

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