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Storm-detention project in Garden of the Gods delayed by artifact discoveries

Oct. 11, 2017
       The government response to two unexpected archeological finds is delaying construction of a $7.8 million stormwater detention pond for Camp Creek at the north end of the Garden of the Gods.
       Originally planned to break ground in late 2016, the project is now not expected to go out to bids until early 2018, according to Mike Chaves of Colorado Springs Engineering.
       The planned 17-acre facility “will significantly reduce the potential for flood damage and
A recent view from the Foothills Trail near 30th Street looks across the Camp Creek channel at the north end of the Garden of the Gods, in the general area where the 17-acre detention pond will be built.
Westside Pioneer photo
life-safety hazards from flooding along the Camp Creek corridor downstream… and remove a majority of homes in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood from the 100-year flood plain,” a previous city document states.
       City officials have declined to detail the locations of the two archeological finds or the artifacts that have been found. However, Chaves did clarify that they date from recent history (late 1800s), including a trash pile with bottles, and they are not Indian-related.
       Although delaying work, the discoveries are not expected to be show-stoppers for the project. “We're not going to have to start over and move the pond,” Chaves summarized.
       The ultimate outcome for each site will probably be just a placard of some kind, “saying it was here,” he said.
       One of the archeological discoveries was made during a contractor's finish-up work in late 2016 on a $1.1 million stabilization project along a roughly 1-mile stretch of Camp Creek between the lower end of Rock Ledge Ranch and the future pond location.
       Around the same time, the city also became aware of other artifacts in the area where the pond itself will be built, Chaves explained.
       The city has hired Alpine Archeology to study the historic relevance of the two finds - there's a separate contract for each one - and plan
A map that was used for the 2013-14 Camp Creek flood control study shows how the creek flows out of the mountains and through the Garden of the Gods and Pleasant Valley en route to Fountain Creek. The planned detention pond will straddle the creek at the north end of the Garden.
Courtesy of Colorado Springs Engineering
how to mitigate the areas where they were located. Two federal agencies are also involved, along with the State Historic Preservation Office.
       A report from Alpine is expected by mid-December, Chaves said.
       Assuming no further analysis is required after that, the city is ready to go to bids on the pond project, and this would likely happen in early 2018, he estimated.
       The total cost of the artifacts study will be “less than $50,000,” Chaves said. The money is coming from the pond-construction budget, for which a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant is paying 75 percent and the state and city are sharing the balance.
       “We weren't expecting this [the artifact issue], but I don't think it will derail the project,” he added.
       Scoped for the north end of the Garden and just south of the Glen Eyrie Castle property, the pond will be visible from 30th Street. The creek itself runs parallel to 30th, before flowing into a concrete ditch that divides 31st Street through the Pleasant Valley neighborhood.
       Chaves pointed out one other unanticipated project impact - not archeology- related - in the past year. That was the design direction last spring from the state's engineering office to reinforce the pond's planned 28-foot-high dam, originally envisioned as completely earthen, with “roller-compacted concrete” beneath the dirt.
       This added cost also can be absorbed by the project budget, he said.
       A range of Camp Creek upgrades to address flooding concerns, including the pond, had been identified as part of a city-organized study that included public meetings in 2013 and 2014.
       A spinoff study this fall is determining where to begin implementing Camp Creek improvements in Pleasant Valley. This effort should be concluded by early November, with a public meeeting planned at some point after that, according to Brian Kelley of City Engineering.

Westside Pioneer article
(Projects: Flood Control)

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