#Colorado Springs lists 71 stormwater projects to be built in region — The Colorado Springs Gazette

The confluence of Fountain Creek and the Arkansas River in Pueblo County -- photo via the Colorado Springs Business Journal
The confluence of Fountain Creek and the Arkansas River in Pueblo County — photo via the Colorado Springs Business Journal

From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Billie Stanton Anleu):

New detention ponds and detention basins dominate the list of 71 stormwater projects that will be built throughout Colorado Springs over the next 20 years as part of a $460 million intergovernmental agreement.

Topping the list released by the city Wednesday are $2 million worth of projects through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to maintain and repair city stormwater fixtures; a $250,000 King Street detention pond; a $2.5 million detention basin at America the Beautiful Park, and a $3 million detention basin on Sand Creek, surrounded by Forest Meadows housing developments near Woodmen and Black Forest roads.

The projects are intended to stanch the flow of flood waters into Pueblo County, and cut back on sediments and other pollutants entering drainages and going downstream.

Asked why the developers aren’t providing the Sand Creek pond, Public Works Director Travis Easton said he couldn’t recall for certain but thought one of the developers was providing other stormwater work.

The America the Beautiful project calls for a consultant to be hired and to coordinate the work with Kiowa Engineering, designer for the adjacent Olympic Museum, one of three City for Champions projects that all are privately funded.

The city money isn’t being spent to benefit the museum; rather, it’s needed for that entire downtown area, Easton said.

“What we realized is we have open space in that park, with a low-lying area, and needed to route water from downtown into the pond to treat it before it enters Fountain Creek. They didn’t have detention ponds back when that was built, and it just goes straight into Fountain Creek,” he said.

Many of the detention ponds and basins got the nod from Wright Water Engineers Inc., which is representing Pueblo County in its three-way pact with the city and Colorado Springs Utilities.

Other projects throughout Colorado Springs, including many listed by the Pikes Peak Stormwater Task Force in 2013, are lower on the city’s new list.

But, Easton said, “I wouldn’t pay too much attention to the order of things farther down the list because these will change. We’re starting the top nine projects this year. We’re meeting with Pueblo County’s engineers soon to go over the list, which we’ll do every year, and plan the projects for the next five years.”

Big concessions to Pueblo County had to be made in the agreement, or Utilities could have been blocked from launching its $825 million Southern Delivery System last month. The county held a critical permit for the massive water project, and its commissioners demanded extensive stormwater work on Fountain Creek and its tributaries.

The county’s needs were heavy on flood control, sediment loading and channel stabilization, Easton said, “but we agree those are needed.”

The city’s Stormwater Division is spending $7.1 million next year on operating costs alone, primarily personnel and equipment, he said. Three new employees have been brought on board, and five more will be hired over the next three months.

“We need to make sure we have processes in place so these people can hit the ground running and do the job.”

The city has launched a new website to highlight the location of all 71 stormwater projects on an interactive map. Easton said he also plans to combine the city’s new interactive maps so stormwater and roads projects all will be in one place.

“It will be a one-stop shop for citizens to go and see where their money is being spent. This is a tool meant for the citizens, a communication tool.”

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