EDITORíS DESK: Engineers getting their feet wet

       People have been asking when work would start on the Waldo Canyon Fire burn-area drainages, and sure enough, it's finally happening. Contractors will be out by October making major repairs on the upper reaches of both North and South Douglas creeks and by November on their lower reaches. Farther back on the timeline is Camp Creek, for which City Engineering just recently hired a consultant and set a public meeting to help with sorting out plans to make it more water-friendly.
       But I'm not bringing all this up to "pile on" about stormwater projects seemingly taking forever to get going. Drainage, I have learned, is a complicated matter. And basically with Camp Creek and the Douglases, engineers have had to start over, because any pre-Waldo drainage analyses pretty much had to be thrown out the window. Floods build up faster now, with a lot depending on where the rain falls. Douglas project priorities were still being updated this summer, as heavy rains created unforeseen drainage problems At the same time, I like the thinking of Mike Chaves, one of the city's lead engineers, in regard to planning structural fixes - that the burn-area issues will go away over time, so care needs to be taken not to have projects that are over-built (and over-priced).
       How many of you would vote for a stormwater fee or tax now? The scary part is that millions upon millions of dollars in needs were already on the table, even before this fire/scar disaster. I do like what District 3 Councilmember (Council President) Keith King said at his Sept. 25 town hall, that he will insist on the city putting up a significant share from the revenue sources it now has - and push the same approach with other area governments - before asking voters for any new funds...
       I don't want to let King off too lightly, though. The next time you schedule a town hall on the Westside, Councilor, how about setting a rule in advance that Westside issues get talked about first? As it was, hot citywide items took the spotlight, abetted by what appeared to be a few opportunistic political types from other parts of town...
       Last but not least: One of the overlooked town hall issues - Bancroft Park - will get full attention Sunday afternoon, Sept. 29 with the Harvest in the Park event. That little park is one of our Westside treasures, and this is a great way to support it.

- K.J.