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FEMA evaluates Colorado Springs' flood damage

By Olivia Wilmsen, Multimedia Journalist, olivia.wilmsen@krdo.com
Published On: Sep 05 2013 12:08:04 AM CDT
Updated On: Sep 05 2013 12:30:26 AM CDT

Recent flood damage around Colorado Springs is leaving the city in a bind. Certain areas need repairs, but the money is thin. That has some people wondering what will get fixed and when.

Cottonwood Creek is one of the hardest hit areas from the storms last month. One man who lives on a farm next to the creek wants improvements to stop the flooding. The city is talking to FEMA about getting money to take care of that, but the city’s stormwater manager Tim Mitros says a fix won't happen for a year or two.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Recent flood damage around Colorado Springs is leaving the city in a bind. Certain areas need repairs, but the money is thin. That has some people wondering what will get fixed and when.

Cottonwood Creek is one of the hardest hit areas from the storms last month. One man who lives on a farm next to the creek wants improvements to stop the flooding. The city is talking to FEMA about getting money to take care of that, but the city’s stormwater manager Tim Mitros says a fix won't happen for a year or two.

August 22, 2013 surprised neighbors as the storm surged through northeast Colorado Springs along cottonwood creek.

"It exemplified the concerns I've had for the last 7-8 years that I've been shouting from the rooftops and nobody listens,” said El Paso County resident Ross Clinger.

Clinger is a retired rancher who lives next to the creek. He says water from neighbors did serious damage and destroyed his fences.

"They were just wiped out,” he said.

However, Clinger says that storm isn't completely to blame.

“The erosion that you see here is part of my biggest heartache. This has been going on for a half a dozen years or more,” said Clinger.

Underneath the Cowpoke Crossing bridge is unimaginable damage from the August 22 storm, but just two years ago the city had fixed this part of the bridge.

The city says it will repair the bridge, but the money isn’t there for the rest of the area.

"Where Cottonwood Creek is doesn't have houses adjacent to it like we do further downstream. So it's not as critical,” said Mitros.

"Baloney. That's what I say. Baloney,” said Clinger in response to Mitros.

With new development in the area, Mitros has a plan.

“We have to get a plan in place to handle that drainage flow,” he said.

Clinger thinks the flood problems stem from the developers who built homes along Cowpoke Road.  

"We've lost over 100 feet of property that we shouldn't be losing because a developer won't do his job,” said Clinger.

With FEMA's visit on Wednesday (9/4/13), it'll take a while to determine if Colorado Springs will receive federal assistance for flood damage.

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