Brice Handel – News Editor
Less than a month into his administration, Calvin Ball has rolled out his “Safe and Sound” initiative with the goal of finding solutions to the deadly flooding that has tarnished Old Ellicott City. Ball’s predecessor, Alan Kittleman, had drafted a plan that called for the demolition of ten buildings along historic Main Street, but Ball fears that demolition is, “using a sledgehammer when only a scalpel is necessary.” He still plans on honoring the offers that have been made to Ellicott City business owners to buy their properties, but, for now, he’s holding back on demolition.
Before any permanent decisions are made, he is bringing in structural engineers to assess damages and determine the integrity of the buildings affected by the flooding. Ball’s plan also includes improvements to Howard County’s emergency public alert system and efforts to clean debris out of waterways. To fund these improvements, a matching grant program has been setup that includes $150,000 in funding, but Ball feels that won’t be enough to help all those affected. To secure more funding, he is collaborating with Delegate-Elect Courtney Watson and State Senator-Elect Katie Fry Hester to introduce legislation into the General Assembly that will secure more funding for the county.
Ellicott City business owners are grateful for Ball’s swift execution of his plan, stating that it’s difficult to remain open with the reduced foot traffic in Old Ellicott City. Many people are weary of visiting Old Ellicott City given the dangerous flooding that has occurred, but Ball hopes that his “Safe and Sound” initiative will restore the area to what it once was.