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Reader: Stormwater matters

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COURTESY CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • Courtesy City of Colorado Springs

Both Together for Colorado Springs (left of center) and Colorado Springs Forward (right of center) are joining together in support of the mayor's proposal to pass a stormwater effort. This might be the first time these two groups are on the same page.

In April, the two groups endorsed very different candidates for City Council.

From a trails and open space point of view, passage of this ballot issue is very important.

Historically, drainage was designed to get all the water to Monument and Fountain creeks as fast as possible, usually through concrete ditches. This methodology had proven to be disastrous in many respects. The high volumes of water eroded downstream property and the concrete ditches proved to be an expensive liability rather than an attractive amenity. Many trails have been washed out over time causing trail closures coupled with expensive repairs.

In the early 1990s, the Pikes Peak Area Trails Coalition (predecessor of the current Trails and Open Space Coalition), put together a symposium in cooperation with the city of Colorado Springs to change the paradigm. The stormwater concept today is much more environmentally friendly.

One example of what has been done is at Shooks Run under Pikes Peak Avenue. What ironically was called the Shooks Run Culvert Project turned into a wonderful pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly underpass asset to the city.

Today, retention and detention ponds are used to slowly release water into Fountain and Monument creeks. Service roads for drainage ways serve double duty as trail right of ways.

These are a few of the ways that things are getting better. However, there is backlog of projects that need to be retrofitted, hence the mayor's ballot effort, which I personally am proud to say I strongly support!

— Lee Milner, Colorado Springs

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