Most locals understand the need for stormwater management, want the problem handled with a regional approach, and want a dedicated funding stream for it.
Those findings were among the results of a poll conducted by the Pikes Peak Regional Stormwater Task Force to test citizens' knowledge of drainage needs. The $19,000 effort was funded with money from Colorado Springs Utilities, one of the task force's participants.
Conducted in November by Washington, D.C.-based WPA Opinion Research, the poll surveyed 400 likely voters, 80 percent of whom live in Colorado Springs and 20 percent in unincorporated El Paso County.
WPA's Bryon Allen, who outlined results for the task force Monday, was surprised that 95 percent of respondents saw flood control as important. "This kind of consensus isn't something I typically see," he said. That response, he added, might be related to the fact that one in six respondents said they were personally affected by recent flooding.
Contacted by cell phone and land lines, 59 percent of respondents said the region's flood control system is poor or not very good. And 81 percent overall said they want a dedicated funding source to address it.
A "key take-away," Allen said, is that 73 percent support addressing the problem on a regional basis. The task force, comprised of officials from City Council, El Paso County, Utilities, the Air Force Academy and an array of other local agencies, promotes working regionally, whether through an existing or a new entity.
But Mayor Steve Bach has proposed the city go its own way on stormwater, cooperating with regional partners just on timing and coordination of projects.
Bach issued a news release a couple hours after the survey came out, insisting that his way was best and saying he'd host a meeting Jan. 16 with regional elected officials in an effort to "reach consensus ... on moving forward."
In other news from Monday's meeting, efforts are underway to build Creekside, a project that will include walkways, a playground and other amenities west of the Julie Penrose Fountain in America the Beautiful Park.
Construction will begin next spring with $320,000, of which $240,000 came from Great Outdoors Colorado, $50,000 from downtown interests, $15,000 from the city and $15,000 from Utilities.