June 14, 2019 

Media Contact:
Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412

These announcements continue to make Ball’s Ellicott City ‘Safe and Sound’ Plan more inclusive of community input 

ELLICOTT CITY – Today, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball made several announcements regarding his Ellicott City Safe and Sound Plan. One, his Community Development Corporation (CDC) Exploration Committee released their report, unanimously calling for the creation of a Community Development Organization (CDO), “that puts its full and undivided attention on revitalizing, preserving and sustaining the watershed district of Ellicott City as soon as feasible.” Two, the Ellicott City Watershed Master Plan was resumed on June 1st, to develop a comprehensive, community-driven vision for rebuilding a stronger and more resilient Ellicott City. Three, by executive order, Ball created the Ellicott City Master Plan Advisory Team to advise the master plan process, provide input at key intervals during the process, and serve as a liaison to the community. More details on Ellicott City Safe and Sound can be found at ECSafeandSound.org

“I want to thank every member of my Exploration Committee for their thorough report. Their recommendations will help guide us toward a future of economic development, revitalization, and job creation. We will be moving with a sense of urgency to create the Community Development Organization that will best serve the needs of Ellicott City,” said Ball. “I am also pleased to report that the Ellicott City Master Plan has been re-started, giving the community a stronger voice in their long-term future and bringing innovative ideas to the table, with the help of the Ellicott City Master Plan Advisory Team.”  

Ellicott City CDC Exploration Committee Report

Over the past several months, the Ellicott City Community Development Corporation (CDC) Exploration Committee has been evaluating the feasibility of a CDC for Ellicott City. The committee was comprised of community representatives, business leaders, and residents committed to the future economic vitality of Historic Ellicott City. Over the course of the committee’s work, the members spent significant hours discussing the challenges faced by Ellicott City, the needs of businesses and residents in Ellicott City and the West End, and how different existing entities currently serve the needs of these communities. 

Ultimately, the committee unanimously decided that Ellicott City would benefit from the creation of the more socially driven, Community Development Organization (CDO) focused on the unique economic development and revitalization challenges of the Ellicott City Watershed area. 

A CDO, is a locally based, tax-exempt, non-profit corporation that helps rehabilitate neighborhoods, create jobs and promote physical and social improvements in communities. This CDO, which would be inclusive of all of Ellicott City’s residents and stakeholders, would foster a sustainable, vibrant, and diverse community in the Ellicott City area through reinvestment, revitalization, and use of partnerships within the area defined by the Ellicott City Master Plan.

The report recommends that the CDO should:

  • Collaborate with all pertinent government agencies, existing business organizations, and community groups;
  • In partnership with existing organizations, help to implement the strategic revitalization of the watershed area, which supports the storm water management recommendations in the Ellicott City Watershed Master Plan; 
  • Form as a non-profit 501 C-3, with the ability to negotiate, sell, lease, lease-back and purchase both public and private property, accept ownership of property, prepare plans, solicit bids, select developers / builders to implement projects, oversee projects, assess the results and pursue grant opportunities; 
  • Coordinate with all pertinent county public works, transportation, and planning initiatives in the area;
  • Bring creative financing solutions and managerial oversight to the infrastructure, building preservation and historic district revitalization challenges confronting the watershed area; 
  • Create and implement public/private partnerships; and
  • Explore inter-county opportunities with Baltimore County to explore the commercial area along the Patapsco and Frederick road areas.

The report also recommends that, “the County Executive and Council Member from District One nominate an 11-member Board of Directors for County Council consideration and that the members hire an experienced Executive Director to oversee the organization… We strongly encourage the CDO to work cooperatively with existing organizations, non-profits and community groups in and around Ellicott City and recommend creation of an Advisory Committee to the Board of Directors consisting of these groups to ensure wide-spread engagement and partnership in the CDO’s mission.”

Ellicott City Watershed Master Plan

As of June 1st, Ball has resumed The Ellicott City Watershed Master Plan. The Master Plan was initially created with the goal of developing a comprehensive, community-driven vision for rebuilding a stronger and more resilient Ellicott City. Triggered by the devastating July 30, 2016 flood, the master plan effort was designed to take a fresh and creative look at potential long-term flood solutions and rebuilding strategies. By May of 2018, the master plan consulting team had developed a vision for a model, resilient community that thrives by protecting its people, commerce, history, culture and natural environment. The consultants developed concepts and ideas for flood alleviation, resilient urban design, and comprehensive long-term rebuilding.

Following the May 2018 flood, the master plan process was paused and the previous five-year plan for flood mitigation developed. Master plan concepts were then developed in response. However, the master plan was again paused in November 2018, prior to Ball taking office. Now, the master plan is restarting so that new and refined concepts can be developed. 

The master plan consultant team, led by Mahan Rykiel & Associates, will be working with the Department of Planning and Zoning and other county agencies over the month of June to prepare for these summer activities:

  • The launch of a new Master Plan Advisory Team, including a mix of returning and new members. An orientation meeting will be held to acquaint and reacquaint the team.  
  • A multi-week online input option in July so everyone can get up to speed on what master plan concepts will be changing, given the ‘Safe and Sound’ flood mitigation strategy. The purpose of this online engagement will be to gather additional input to help shape recommendations for amenity space, parking, infill development, circulation, placemaking, etc. as impacted by the flood mitigation strategy. 
  • Input gathered in July will inform the development of new and refined concepts for public review this fall.

The Ellicott City Master Plan Advisory Team will provide a local understanding of the broader issues concerning the Ellicott City watershed and will promote public involvement during the development of the plan and share information with their community groups and networks. The team will be comprised of Ben Barlow, Rob Brennan, Tom Coale, Simon Cortes, Barry Gibson, Alicia Jones-McLeod, Debbie Slack Katz, W. Edward Lilley, Lori Lilly, Gary Maule, and Beth Woodruff. 

Please visit www.howardcountymd.gov/ecmp to view the master plan schedule, review information presented at prior public workshops, and join the master plan email list.

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