Apr 30, 2014 12:59 AM by Maddie Garrett
As it stands now, Colorado Springs City engineers say Camp Creek, on the west side of Colorado Springs, can't handle a 100 year flood. But new plans hope to change that and get people out of the flood zone.
The project is two-fold, with some construction going on right now in the creek to stabilize it for the upcoming flood season. The big picture project that would completely overhaul the creek, likely won't start construction for several more years, but would be a permanent fix for the area.
"It was really beat up where they're fixing things," said nearby resident Michael Esch.
Flood waters and debris tore through Camp Creek on 31st Street last year, and now the city is repaving the damaged creek bed and making it more stable.
"That's just kind of a stop-gap measure to make sure the channel holds up for two to three, four or five years," said Colorado Springs Senior Civil Engineer Mike Chaves.
That work is only temporary. The big picture is to widen Camp Creek, add improvements up stream and get the homes along it out of the 100 year flood zone.
"The improvements we're proposing will contain the water in the channel and they will be removed from the flood plain," said Chaves.
Esch said he's currently in FEMA's flood map, and looks forward to being out of it.
"We're currently sand bagged, ready for the next flood, so it'd be nice to get rid of the sand bags as well," he said.
The City plans to do this by adding a retention basin north, near Garden of the Gods, and making the creek wider and deeper, able to handle a major flooding event.
"It will have a rock lined bottom with side slopes and grass, vegetation," described Chaves.
Of three designs, the majority of neighbors said they liked the open, more natural plan the best. All of the concrete would be done away with, the creek will have bigger sloping sides of grass, with a bike path running along the creek.
Other options included high cement walls or completely covering the creek.
"We wanted it left open, so the water flowed through there," said Bill Ripple, another neighbor.
Esch said he too liked the open, natural creek design.
"That's the one I voted for, I think it's aesthetically the right thing to do as well," he said.
Neighbors said not only will this plan relieve them from flooding, but keep the nature of the West Side.
"We're in the mountains practically, this is basically extending that into our neighborhood. It's back to the way things used to be I believe," said Esch.
The temporary fix of the construction going on right now, should be done by the end of May. The permanent overhaul project won't be done until probably 2020, unless the City gets funding sooner for it. The total cost of the big project is $37 million.