Mar 23, 2014 11:03 PM by Tony Spehar
As we move into spring Manitou Springs will begin a $5.4-million project aimed at reducing the danger of flash flooding ahead of a summer expected to bring more floods off the Waldo Canyon burn scar.
On several occasions over the summer of 2013 rushing water and mud tossed cars around like toys, destroyed numerous homes and claimed the life of one person. But Manitou Springs persevered and soon preparations for the summer of 2014 will go into high-gear.
Last Monday the Department of Local Affairs awarded the city a $1.9-million grant to aid in flood mitigation. City Administrator Jack Benson called the grant a "godsend" that would be immensely helpful to the city as recovery efforts have taken a bite out of reserve funds.
"The real issue here is not to spend all our money in one shot," Benson explained. "Because we're looking at 5-plus years of flooding to address."
The recent grant along with others and money from the city will go toward a three-phase project aimed at debris, damage and conveyance capacity of water channels in the city. The first phase will focus on Williams Canyon, the main route of flash flooding from the Waldo Canyon burn scar.
"Putting in a series of barriers kind of at the throat of Williams Canyon to slow down the water as it comes down," described Rev. David Hunting of the Manitou Springs Fire Department. "We're going to try and re-channel some of the water coming down Canon Avenue so we protect the residences and businesses along that way."
The Department of Local Affairs grant will help fund the second and third phases of the project which will focus on improving water channels through the Narrows Neighborhood which suffered some of the worst damage of the 2013 floods.
"Mother Nature will have her way, we're just trying to stay one step ahead of her right now as we prepare for the coming season that may be like it was last year at some points," explained Rev. Hunting.
The City of Manitou Springs will hold a public meeting about the mitigation project on April 5. They plan to award the project to a contractor on April 8, with work beginning 10-days after that.