COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Work begins Monday on a project to rebuild a drainage channel through two local tourist attractions and a west side Colorado Springs neighborhood.
In the first phase of the project, workers will install rocks and other flood mitigation devices in a mile-long channel of Camp Creek through Garden of the Gods and Rock Ledge Ranch.
The mitigation includes reshaping creek banks and planting vegetation, all designed to slow the flow of water and debris after heavy rain and reduce erosion.
The second phase, scheduled for next spring, will build a retention basin at the north end of the park, near an existing basin.
Finally, workers will rebuild the crumbling concrete channel along 31st Street through the Pleasant Valley neighborhood, adding landscaping and a relocated bicycle path.
City officials said the project will allow 120 homes to be taken out of the area's 100-year flood plain.
The project will not affect access to Garden of the Gods or Rock Ledge Ranch, they said.
"We've told the contractor to ensure the first two phases retain the natural look and feel of the two parks," said Mike Chaves, the city's project engineer. "As for the 31st street channel, many residents approved of the design at a series of public meetings."
City officials said around a third of the funding for the $30 million project is in place -- most of it from a federal grant, the rest from local and state matching funds. Officials are hopeful of obtaining other grants to finance the remainder of the work.
The threat of flash flooding through the watershed has increased since 2012, after heavy runoff from the nearby Waldo Canyon burn scar.
To see the designs for the new 31st Street channel, visit: https://coloradosprings.gov/sites/default/files/public_works/Transportation/31st_channel_sketches.pdf.