ELLICOTT CITY, MD — Ellicott City hit another milestone in its recovery from the July 30 flood as it reopened the final stretch of Main St.
Drivers honked their horns and people on the sidewalk cheered as police stepped aside at the intersection of Main St. and Old Columbia Pike at 5 p.m. on Thursday allowing car and pedestrian traffic once again.
"Just to hear the traffic coming down again and to see the people walking on the streets and all the normal sounds you would hear down here, it was a really wonderful moment. It brought tears to my eyes,” said Julia Sanger, co-owner of the Park Ridge Trading Company.
Sanger opened her temporary shop in the building adjacent to her original store, which is still be repaired.
The majority of the businesses along the section of Main St. that reopened Thursday remain boarded up and are in different stages of repair, but several owners were at the closed shops for the occasion.
"People always look forward to seeing the Bubble Bear so we figured, people wanted to see it so we put it out,” said Barry Gibson. He works at The Forget-Me-Not Factory. He said while the store is still several weeks away from reopening, he placed the animatronic bear that blows bubbles, an iconic piece of the store, outside for people to see.
"This place is very resilient. It’s seen floods before, not to this degree. But I have no doubt in my mind that it’ll be back,” said Steve Head, one of those who came to walk Main St.
Michael Koplow owns The ClayGround Studio & Gallery, which is a block off Main St., and has been reopened since late September and said he has seen life slowly trickle back to the area.
"This weekend should be busier than last weekend, and last weekend was busier than the weekend before. So it’s coming back piece by piece and that’s the saying, it’ll be strong. Ellicott City strong, it’s a neat thing,” added Koplow.
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman said officials decided not to hold an opening ceremony Thursday and plan to hold one later this year. This is to allow for the businesses still rebuilding to be able to take part in the celebration.