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LETTER: Fund Flood Prevention Projects in Ellicott City

Historic District residents Michele Bickley and Frank Durantaye write that the county should approve funds to help alleviate flooding in Ellicott City.

Flooding on Main Street in 2011 during Tropical Storm Lee closed the road. Credit: Brandie Jefferson
Flooding on Main Street in 2011 during Tropical Storm Lee closed the road. Credit: Brandie Jefferson

The following is a letter to the editor submitted to Ellicott City Patch. It's the opinion of the author and does not represent the views of Ellicott City Patch.

Dear Executive Ulman,

We hope this finds you well and that you had a wonderful holiday. 

First, thank you for hosting the budget hearing a couple of weeks ago.  I would like to follow up with the suggestion you made during my testimony - to talk more about the flooding issues outside of the hearing.  

I was devastated to hear, just before the hearing, that your [Department of Public Works] staff would be recommending to not move forward with the large upstream retention projects (Cloverleaf and BGE Ponds).  

These projects will offer us more than a 20% reduction in water quantity.  This is an amazing start to our flood problems.  I believe (along with many watershed engineers, including CWP) that we have not exhausted all of the ways to retain and store water in our area.  Yes, the Historic EC watershed presents many challenges for flood protection, but we can think outside of the box and find more and more ways to store and retain water. 

Twenty percent can be the beginning of a long-term plan that eventually reduces the water by 50% or more!  And, for many properties in the studied west end area, this first 20% will keep them safe and out of harms way.  (We also cannot forget the businesses and residents on Main Street that were devastated by the flood and be sure to have the 2D study take them into account!)

There has been SO much development in our little three square mile watershed over recent years.  NOTHING has been done to change the infrastructure of the stream’s channel to combat a tremendous amount of impervious surface and loss of forest and land.  The overall impact of the topography changes far exceed the storm water management to which each new development adheres.  If these developments are considered progress, we must also have a progressive infrastructure for our water that supports this town’s forward motion.   

We can keep the water off of the road and out of people’s homes and businesses. 

We, the Ellicott City community of residents and businesses are officially asking you to assign capital funding for 2015 for the upstream large retention projects (Cloverleaf and BGE).

Thank you for your time, attention, and consideration.   

Respectfully,

Michele Bickley and Frank Durantaye and The Ellicott City Flood Solutions 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/453420644686761/

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