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Erosion control plan for closed section of Southmoor Drive in Fountain revealed Wednesday

FOUNTAIN, Colo. (KRDO) -- Embattled businessman and property owner Brett Taylor received what he hopes is good news regarding the threat of erosion damage to his building that has already closed a nearby road for nearly four years.

The Fountain Creek Watershed District (FCWD) tells KRDO 13 that a yearlong project to control erosion along creek and a section od Southmoor Drive will start this fall.

"That's great," said Taylor, who's commercial painting shop is just ten feet away from the edge of a bluff that leads to a steep drop-off above the creek. "Pray for no heavy rainstorms until then."

Alli Schuch, executive director of the FCWD, said that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved a permit to allow the project to happen.

"We're going to open that up and allow that creek to come out of its banks and overflow the way that it should naturally," she explained. "We'll do habitat restoration. We're also going to be hardening the surface of a wall to prevent that erosion in the future."

The project will cost $2 million, with work starting in the fall and scheduled for completion in late 2025.

Schuch said that the FCWD project originally planned to start the project last year but several heavy rainstorms -- which accelerated the rate of erosion -- forced engineers to re-design the plan and reschedule it for when creek levels are much lower.

"Their goal on the plan was to put dirt back, compact it every 8 inches, build it up and build some kind of barrier with a 45-degree angle," Taylor said.

Fountain officials said that they will repair and reopen the closed section of Southmoor as soon as they can after the erosion mitigation project is finished.

The FCWD is comprised of nine local governments that manage the the creek's 927 square miles from Palmer Lake to Pueblo.

"We received $50 million from Colorado Springs Utilities for creek improvements and spent $35 million so far," Schuch said. "But we've identified $1 billion in needs. These projects are expensive and we're always seeking funding for them. Taylor isn't the only private property owner along the creek who needs help. There are a lot of homes and businesses along the creek's flood plain. We need to rethink how much development is allowed there."

She said that one funding solution is something that the Denver area already has -- a mill levy supported by taxpayers.

"We haven't shown the political well to do that here yet," Schuch said.

She added that the National Resources Conservation Service, a federal agency, has resources available to help property owners like Taylor.

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.


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