Tuesday, September 17, 2013

$10 million in city assets down the tubes

Posted By on Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 4:11 PM

click to enlarge Love those local emergency workers. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Love those local emergency workers.
Mayor Steve Bach praised the city employees today during a news conference, saying, "I could not be more proud of our city employees ... who have done so much to help."

He was referring, of course, to their response to the horrific flooding that's hit the region in the last week, causing havoc all over town.

(This comment is notable, since Bach has spent so much time at town halls and other appearances moaning about city employees' pensions and how they're bankrupting the city. Is he going soft?)

In any event, the news conference mostly focused on how the city is surviving the deluge of the past week. Director of Emergency Management Bret Waters reported the voluntary evacuation order for residents along Cheyenne Creek was lifted this morning. He also said city officials continue to conduct damage assessments, but that so far infrastructure under public works and parks totals roughly $10 million, a "conservative" estimate.

It's more difficult to get a handle on damage to homes. While many basements have flooded, city officials can't see that from outside the home, he said.

Waters noted the city plans to open a disaster assistance center with El Paso County and El Paso County Public Health, but he didn't give a location or a time. We'll update when the information is made available. Public Health director Jill Law also assured residents the disaster assistance center will provide information about how residents can safely clean up their properties. She also urged parents not to allow children to assist, because flood waters might contain dangerous contaminants.

Fire Chief Chris Riley, in his second week on the job, reported that nine firefighters were assisting in the Boulder area, five working urban search and rescue and four others cleaning up debris. "I can't say enough about our firefighters and the work they've been doing the last six days," he said. Firefighters, he said, rescued three people from flood waters.

In an unrelated portion of the news conference, economic vitality official Donna Nelson spoke of the city's efforts to create Colorado Springs Professionals, a group that aims to help minority young people engage with the community, most notably with the city. Others participating in the effort include the NAACP, Harrison School District 2 and the Regional Business Alliance.

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