Fountain Creek: ‘The creek we used to play in is a filthy mess’ — Melissa Esquibel

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

A stormwater structure for Colorado Springs and the surrounding communities has to be in place before Southern Delivery System goes online. That’s a must for a downstream water district, and a top priority for Colorado Springs.
Two members of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District board met Tuesday with two Colorado Springs City Council members to begin talks aimed at clearing the air on stormwater issues. The meeting was hosted by Pueblo County Commissioner Anthony Nunez; more meetings are expected.

“I’m cynical. I grew up a block from Fountain Creek,” said Melissa Esquibel, a member of the Lower Ark board. “The creek we used to play in is a filthy mess.”

“Waldo Canyon (Fire) has created a sense of urgency for you,” Nunez added. “We’ve had that sense of urgency for 100 years.”

Colorado Springs council members Merv Bennett and Brandy Williams sat at the other end of the table and said they are diligently working on a regional stormwater solution. Bennett said the collections of $15 million per year that would have occurred under the now­ defunct stormwater enterprise may not have been enough to fix Fountain Creek. He touted the $28 million for stormwater in next year’s Colorado Springs budget and asked for patience and trust.

“We’ll prove our trust by our behavior,” Bennett said.

Jay Winner, general manager of the Lower Ark district, emphasized that the district met with a different set of council members in 2005, only to start over on the same issues now. He said Colorado Springs will be a regional water provider through SDS, which makes it imperative that Colorado Springs takes the lead in controlling flows into Fountain Creek.

“We’ve set a lofty goal with the stormwater task force,” Williams said. “We have to establish what the region’s needs and expenditures are.”

More Fountain Creek coverage here and here.

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