Fountain Creek to go underground in Woodland Park

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When it comes to Flood Hazard Development Permits, the buck stops at the Woodland Park Planning Commission. In most cases, the commission is a recommending body. The commissioners look at the technical details of a project and make a recommendation to city council. However, according to the city charter, the commissioners have the final say on Flood Hazard Development Permits.

On April 11, the planning commission approved a permit request from the city of Woodland Park to send the East Fork of Fountain Creek, off Sheridan Avenue, underground through a 72-inch reinforced pipe. The plan is designed to capture water from a 100-year-storm and eliminate the flood plain surrounding the East Fork. This means that once the work is done and a new flood-plain map is sent to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, neighboring residents and businesses will no longer need flood insurance.

“Putting water in pipes is not my first choice for erosion control,” said Bill Alspach, Woodland Park director of public works. “We just don't have any room in that area of the creek to do something else with it.”

Included with the permit was a grading/landscaping plan. The pipe will be buried and the land over it will be landscaped as open space and will eventually become part of the American Discovery Trail.

The work on the east fork will cost between $600,000 and $700,000, Alspach said, adding that the Colorado Department of Transportation will be paying about $250,000 into the work.

“As soon as CDOT cuts loose with the money, we'll start advertising for construction bids,” he said. “Next month or the month after, I will be coming in with the start of the Fountain Creek main-stem, erosion-control project. There are critical infrastructures within these projects that were working to protect from erosion.”

After its regular meeting, the commissioners continued its series of work sessions on revamping the city's zoning codes.