Ellicott City - The Kittleman Record
Ellicott City needs help now, not in 15 years. Calvin Ball has failed Ellicott City and his inactions continue to put people’s lives and livelihoods at risk.
Knowing that something needed to be done to mitigate the risk of flooding in Old Ellicott City, immediately upon entering office in 2014, Kittleman started to work with Councilmember Jon Weinstein on addressing flooding. The Kittleman administration developed a bi-partisan plan focused on a comprehensive series of integrated projects. Through retention and expanded stream channels to dramatically reduce the risk of flooding that threatened the lives of the people who live, work, and visit this national treasure, Kittleman’s approach brought people together to address the concerns and help solve the problem.
The town’s worst fears were realized on July 30, 2016, when six inches of rain fell in less than two hours, causing massive flood damage. Ellicott City’s resilient residents and merchants, with the unprecedented support from the Kittleman administration, rebuilt the town.
At this point, the mission for flood mitigation intensified with greater public involvement and investment from the county. The bipartisan process that Kittleman began even before being sworn in, was hailed as a major step forward for Ellicott City. But as design and implementation planning was underway, another tragic storm hit the town on Memorial Day weekend in 2018, with 8 inches of rain falling in 3 hours. The town rallied yet again, but plans were halted immediately by the incoming Ball administration.
Had this plan been implemented as designed, significant progress would have been made by now, including immediately reducing the risk to life and property by removing buildings in harm’s way and creating a breathtaking open space for people to enjoy.
A Stark Contrast
Instead of delivering on the bipartisan Kittleman plan, County Executive Ball has offered an unsound, highly risky, and expensive plan with little progress being made.
Delayed action by the Ball administration means a continued threat to the residents and businesses of Ellicott City. This fall marks the fourth year without any significant projects being completed and no major projects will have been completed during Calvin Ball’s entire term. The only 2 projects that have progressed were ones developed during the Kittleman administration though they have moved at a much slower pace under the Ball administration.
We can do better for historic Ellicott City NOW, not in 15+ years as the Ball administration is proposing. The current County Executive has delayed projects and deflected his inaction by proposing a plan that will take 10 to 15 years and cost 2 to 3 times as much as the plan put forward under the Kittleman administration ($55 million versus over $140 million).
Calvin Ball has touted BORROWING over $160 million to finance just one aspect of his plan without ANY RESULTS. Despite the significant increase in cost and time, Calvin Ball’s plan hinges on a tunnel that has to be approved by CSX, and as of yet, there have been no signs of that occurring.
Howard County’s citizens should be alarmed by the huge gap between what Calvin Ball says and what he does, especially when it comes to Ellicott City.
As one business owner on Main Street said in response to being asked when County Executive Ball’s tunnel would be built, “Not in my lifetime!”