After nearly a year of stalemate due to asbestos contamination, work was to resume this week on the Creekside project, an "environmental playground" along Monument Creek in America the Beautiful Park.
Last July, excavation crews removing a berm between the creek and park unearthed materials containing asbestos, including floor tiles and a vent pipe.
The project was shut down and fenced, and erosion-control measures were undertaken to prevent runoff into the creek while tests were conducted to confirm the materials did indeed contain asbestos.
On Monday, after the project was redesigned to lower the cost, earthwork and asbestos abatement began again under a contract with Environmental Abatement Southwest, parks development manager Chris Lieber says in a statement.
The contractor must abide by the city's soil management plan, approved by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, and will work under the guidance of another contractor, Pinyon Environmental, Lieber adds.
Expected to span up to 45 days, the earthwork and abatement will close a section of the Pikes Peak Greenway on the east side of Monument Creek, and trail users will be detoured to the west side, Lieber says. The environmental work is expected to cost about $220,000.
Because of the asbestos discovery, Lieber says the original project design has been altered "to minimize the need for additional grading and to reduce overall project cost."
"The City will be bidding the remaining landscape portion of the work (natural playground, landscape, plantings, irrigation, etc. ...) in the next few weeks," Lieber writes. "This portion of the work is expected to cost $175,000. The entire project is scheduled to be complete by the end of September."
The project is one of several funded with a $2.5 million Great Outdoors Colorado grant awarded to a coalition comprising El Paso County, Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Fountain Creek Watershed District, and Colorado Springs Utilities.
The coalition is building the "River Corridors Initiative," which will create new stretches of the Colorado Front Range Trail in southern El Paso County and rehabilitate nearly nine miles of the trail through Colorado Springs and Pueblo; develop corridor destinations along Monument and Fountain creeks; and install watershed-related environmental education features.