EDITORíS DESK: Her own private Katrina
The City of Colorado Springs welcomed some 600 Hurricane Katrina victims with open arms last fall, but it seems to be having
trouble accommodating a Westside resident who experiences her own personal flood tide every time it rains.
C.J. Hendrickson really just wanted to own a nice little house on the Westside, and she's got it, as long as it doesn't float away (see photos on Pages 1 and 12).
Anyone can stand in her front yard at 15th and Cucharras and see that the street is higher than her property, and, when it rains, that the little storm-drain inlet - possibly constructed by Gen. Palmer's father - is ready to back up at the slightest drop in barometric pressure. Nevertheless Hendrickson has documented comments from city staff that there is no engineering problem at that intersection.
Of late, her plight has come to the attention of City Engineer Cam McNair, who has assured her (after 1 1/2 years of waiting for disaster relief) that the city will fix her sidewalk within the next two to three months and (time frame unstated) replant her parkway and clean out the inlet's storm drain again.
As for milling the street so it's not so high, or replacing the storm drains, that's not going to happen for a while. Such work would be expensive and (a familiar refrain from Engineering) "we have many problems similar to this all over the city," McNair informed Hendrickson in a recent e-mail.
Hendrickson is hopeful that the promised upgrades will work, but after having three landscaping efforts wash away to date, she is naturally skeptical about the efficacy of such seemingly minor fixes. What do you plant in a parkway that floods, anyway? Rice paddies? Pecan trees? The concern here is that if the planned repairs fail, then the city will be forced to redo it all, at even greater expense. And, meanwhile, a local resident's frustration grows. It might have been easier if she'd bought her house in New Orleans.