Speakers Urge Residents to Start Thinking of Creeks and Drainage Ways as Potential Community Assets
El Paso County, August 21, 2012 – Board of County Commissioners Chair Amy Lathen joined Colorado Springs City Councilwoman Brandy Williams in hosting a “Storm Water Summit” on the west bank of Sand Creek just south of Airport Road. The site was chosen so participants could see for themselves a prime example of the ongoing damage to public infrastructure caused by uncontrolled storm water run-off. Colorado Springs Utilities lines carrying natural gas and wastewater that once were buried deep under creek bed are now exposed and vulnerable. The Airport Road bridge over Sand Creek also shows significant damage from repeated flooding.
“This conversation began long before the Waldo Canyon Fire,” Board of County Commissioners Chair Amy Lathen told participants, “but now Waldo Canyon is part of the discussion.” Lathen stressed the need for a regional solution, “If you live in a place that isn’t impacted directly, we’re thrilled for you but I can guarantee that the water that isn’t impacting you is flowing downstream and impacting somebody else.” County Engineer Andre Brackin added that public information and public education will be critical in successful dealing with regional drainage issues. “The most high-dollar and costly infrastructure in cities across the country is drainage infrastructure,” Brackin noted. “As we go forward here we need to change the paradigm of how we think about stormwater. It’s not just an open channel sewer, it’s an amenity; Fountain Creek is an amenity.”
City of Colorado Springs Public Works Director Helen Migchelbrink also spoke of the public education. “Our challenge as engineers is trying to get people to understand the issues with storm water. Because if we don’t address storm water we won’t have a city or a state that we can be proud of.” Colorado Springs City Councilwoman Brandy Williams told participants, “There isn’t a silver bullet for this particular issue. But all of us being willing to sit here today and bring together our collective thoughts and energies, we will get this solved.”
The Sand Creek Summit served as a kickoff for a regional storm water task force which will prioritize storm water needs and identify available funding sources to address those needs. The task force expects to have its initial assessment completed by the end of the year.
Contact: Dave Rose
Public Information Officer
Phone: 520-6540 Cell: 337-9239