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Fence removal turns 19th Street detention pond into publicly accessible open space

The 19th Street detention pond, now open to the public, is seen in a view from its northeast corner. The rear of the Uintah Gardens shopping center is at left, along Dale Street; 19th Street is just beyond the rock-and-concrete inlet structure in the right background. The property had a barbwire fence around it for decades before the city removed it in late January.
Westside Pioneer photo
In late January, a city Street Division crew removed a portion of the fence along Dale Street that had enclosed the 19th Street detention pond. Behind them is the rear of the Uintah Gardens shopping center.
Westside Pioneer photo
       After years behind a barbwire fence, the 19th Street detention pond is open to the public.
       A city street crew took down the enclosure in late January. The only exceptions are two places where vehicles could drive in. One is the main gate, which will be kept locked except when city trucks need access to clean up the 4-acre property.
       The other blocked-off part consists of 50 feet of leftover barbwire along 19th Street, near the pond's northwest corner. There is no curb there, which allows on-street drainage to flow under the fence and into the pond. But if the fence were removed, it's evident how errant cars might roll in that way also.
       The location is just north of the Uintah Gardens shopping center, along Dale Street between 19th and 17th streets. North of the pond is a residential neighborhood, consisting of apartments and single-family homes.
       The pond is designed to temporarily hold uphill runoff before releasing it slowly into the city's underground storm system, which drains into Fountain Creek.
       The decision to open the site was made by City Stormwater Manager Tim Mitros, who has previously told the Westside Pioneer that
Two views toward the 19th/Dale corner of the detention pond... ABOVE: The current appearance, with only the gate remaining - to limit vehicular access only to city vehicles performing maintenance. BELOW: The previous appearance (photo taken in November 2014), before city crews removed the barbwire fence.
Westside Pioneer photos
the city has successfully done the same at similar locations elsewhere in town - including the nearby King Street detention pond and another one in the Briargate area.
       “I don't know why it's got a prison fence around it,” Mitros said in a November interview, when asked about the reasons for 19th Street's long-time enclosure. “We could turn it into something of value to the neighborhood.”
       But he has also noted that currently the city has no extra development funds. Unless that happens, the pond is
expected to remain basically as is, without trails, fields, equipment or other amenities.
       He has made a general public appeal for ideas or even monetary support, with the idea that the city could pitch in somehow.
       So far that hasn't gone quite the way he'd hoped. General support has been voiced by the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN), but“I only had one person call me,” Mitros said in late January “They wanted the fence to
City Stormwater Manager Tim Mitros talks to City Council on a separate matter at the Jan. 27 meeting.
Westside Pioneer photo - from Springs TV meeting coverage
stay up and for us to use the property as a dog park.”
       The city is aware of potential safety issues in case of rain or fast snowmelt and plans to put signs up, Mitros has said. Street workers are also concerned about people using the property as a dumping ground.
       The fence removal followed a roughly $400,000 project last year to upgrade the pond's functional capabilities. A combination of new concrete and rock structures are expected to better control the flow in and out, reducing the chances of overwhelming old and undersized storm sewers downstream while improving the quality of the water itself.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 2/3/15; Outdoors: General)

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