CAÑON CITY – A neighborhood plagued by flash flooding due to poor stormwater drainage design is finally getting the promise of relief from city leaders and its homeowners association.
Dawson Ranch, on Cañon City’s far southwest side, endured millions of dollars in property and infrastructure damage from a severe hail storm on July 23. “Mud, boulders, it was nasty,” said Wayne Etter, a Dawson Ranch resident of 14 years. The subdivision was plotted nearly 20 years ago, but stormwater drainage through the community was poorly designed and results in flooding from even moderate-intensity rain storms.
“I live up there, I also get flooded out,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Ashley Smith. “Every single year, my property gets flooded.” Smith, other members of City Council, the mayor, City Administrator, other city officials, HOA board members, and community residents gathered Tuesday afternoon for a meeting to discuss plans to fix the problem. The first step — a study of culverts in Dawson Ranch, many of which are too small or ill-placed to handle the storm flows, which often include large amounts of silt, tree limbs and branches, and even rocks and boulders. The HOA has committed $10,000 annually to fund the study, an amount the city will match, Smith said. “We’re trying to work with the city to make action occur and get some improvements made in the area,” said Michael Gromowski, chair of the Dawson Ranch HOA Board.
Funding actual construction on redesign and repair of the stormwater system will be more difficult to fund without a sustainable revenue stream, Smith said. Wednesday, city leaders will discuss a possible ballot question asking voters to approve an increase in stormwater fees to help fund decades-overdue rebuilding and repairs of stormwater infrastructure, not just in Dawson Ranch, but throughout the entire city. “If we raise our fees just enough, we could get a bond and get some revenue to get about $8 million worth of projects done in Cañon City in the year 2019,” Smith said. $1 million of that would be earmarked for Dawson Ranch to fund immediate work.