Residents’ cleanup to precede creek work

       Gold Hill Mesa homeowners will play a prominent part in the kickoff Saturday, June 20 for the upcoming Fountain Creek restoration project.

At Gold Hill Mesa this week, heavy equipment breaks up concrete left from the Golden Cycle gold mill days, to be reused for buttressing the banks of Fountain Creek in the upcoming restoration project at the north end of the 210-acre site. The photo looks west from a Gold Hill high point, with the Midland area beyond.
Westside Pioneer photo

       As part of adopting the roughly 3,000 feet of waterway that is to be upgraded in the work, residents from many of the 60-some current households plan to hold a cleanup around the creek that day, according to Gold Hill Mesa spokesperson Stephanie Edwards.
       The kickoff will begin at 10 a.m. in Gold Hill Mesa's community center at 142 S. Raven Mine Drive. The public is invited. After some explanatory remarks, participants will be driven to the north side of the property, near Fountain Creek, to begin the cleanup, she said.
       The kickoff also is expected to provide up-to-date information about the project - which is a combined effort by the Colorado Springs Stormwater Enterprise, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Gold Hill Mesa development.
       That work is planned to start shortly after the residents' cleanup efforts, then continue until the end of October.
       According to Lisa Ross of Stormwater, the contract was recently awarded to the Colorado Structures company. The project partners had once estimated the potential cost at $3.6 million, but Colorado Structures had the lowest of eight bids that came in from pre-approved CDOT contractors at $2,312,610, she said.
       The lower-than-expected amount will allow the completion of both phases of the project area - following the creek 3,000 feet west toward 21st Street from Gold Hill's boundary line at the trailer park, she said.
       The work will include reshaping much of the creek and its banks, chiefly to ensure stabilization of Highway 24 (which it parallels); strategically placing various sizes of rocks in the channel for flow control, and planting bushes and trees to prevent erosion.
       Based on requirements by the Division of Wildlife, the creek should also have a more natural look and be inviting for fish. Design adjustments related to that issue led to the project being delayed from previous plans to start work in the spring. Now, with a summer start, the plantings are not planned to go in until the fall because of concerns about losing them in the summer heat, according to Ross.
       In the future, Gold Hill Mesa's owners foresee homes and businesses near the creek - the overall development conceptually calls for 1,000 homes and a 67-acre commercial area - and the creek upgrades as an amenity. A maintenance road next to the creek could also be used as a public hiking trail, according to plans.
       The Gold Hill residents plan to keep taking care of the creek over the long term through City Stormwater's Adopt a Waterway program, Edwards said. The program calls on such volunteers to clean their adopted sections at least twice a year.
       Asked if the residents' initial cleanup efforts Jan. 20 might not be wasted because of the heavy equipment working in the creek a few days later, Ross said no. “The volunteers will be doing areas just outside of the waterway, picking up pieces of paper, bottles and cans,” she said. “As a result, there will be less material that will get caught up in the work itself and go downstream.”

Westside Pioneer article