EDITORíS DESK: Restoring, not boondoggling

       If you've ever walked along Fountain Creek at the north end of the Gold Hill Mesa development, you know what a mess it is. In some parts, the channel looks like a drunk laid it out, and in a storm all bets are off. Then there's Gold Hill's piled-up concrete on the banks. At least it's comforting to know that eyesore is temporary and that it actually serves a purpose - to help keep storm runoff from flooding into the creek with who knows how much cyanide from the old mill tailings.
       So it's been a pleasure to watch as three unlikely partners - City Stormwater, Gold Hill Mesa and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) - have joined forces this past year to work up a plan to permanently restore the creek there. They did hit one rather major hiccup on the way - well, maybe being told by the Division of Wildlife (DOW) that your plan has a shopping list of defects and will also wipe out trout habitats counts as more than just a "hiccup" - but in any case it seems as if those kinds of problems have now been surmounted. As to the problems themselves... I want to make it clear that I'm not some kind of amateur aquatics specialist, but it does seem awfully telling that what the DOW demanded isn't going to make this into an over-priced, "gold-plated" project. And, to top it off, we get trout swimming around. In any case, I really hope that Stormwater in particular and city engineers in general are paying attention, because these projects are not cheap, gold-plate or no. The 2004 project down to Eighth Street was part of a $10 million expense that wiped out some good old trees along with bad ones, then failed in the replanting (still not remedied) and is troutless, to boot. I just hope that city engineers are taking notes this time.

- K.J.