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  Volume No. 12 Issue No. 10 October 2015  

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Feature Stories
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  Jimmy Camp Creek properties still on hold
  Colorado Springs Utilities hedging their bet on Upper Williams Creek Reservoir
  By Jason Gray

   A reservoir at Jimmy Camp Creek is still a slim possibility. Negotiations with property owners at the primary Upper Williams Creek reservoir location are still ongoing.
   The properties Colorado Springs Utilities purchased near Meridian Road south of Falcon won't be sold until the city is certain the Upper Williams site is ready to fill. Either way, Falcon residents won't have nearby fishing options until at least 2020.
   “During the drought of the early 2000s, the Jimmy Camp site was the proposed reservoir site,” said Janet Rummel, public involvement manager for the Southern Delivery System project. “Community leaders knew we were planning SDS and wanted us to secure the properties so we could build the reservoir earlier.”
   The SDS project is a regional water delivery system that links Pueblo Reservoir and its water from the Arkansas River to the communities of Colorado Springs, Fountain and Security. Fifty miles of pipeline between Pueblo and eastern Colorado Springs, three pump stations and a treatment plant are under construction as part of phase 1 of the project. Two reservoirs will hold raw water to provide additional storage if growth in the region needs it.
   The Jimmy Camp location fell out of favor because of environmental and scientific concerns. The Bureau of Reclamation said in their SDS Supplemental Information Report published in October 2008 that they determined the fossil and archeological sites that would be lost by building the reservoir were too important. The agency also determined there was an increased possibility of bird strikes with airplanes going into Peterson Air Force Base and the Colorado Springs Airport, if waterfowl took up residence at the location.
   The treatment plant under construction near the corner of Marksheffel Road and Highway 94 will turn the raw water into drinking water and connect it to the existing CSU distribution system until the reservoirs are built, Rummel said. According to The New Falcon Herald article in June 2009, the system was supposed to be operational by 2012. The current plan is to have the first phase complete by 2016.
   The bankruptcy sale of Banning Lewis Ranch to oil and gas interests complicated land purchases and reduced the near-term water needs of that part of the city. “We've had to acquire some properties from Ultra Resources for phase 1 construction,” Rummel said. Ultra Resources purchased most of the Banning Lewis land from the failed housing developer.
   The city utility won't dispose of the Jimmy Camp properties until they are absolutely positive Upper Williams Creek will be completed. “We need to get everything into place,” said Andres Pico, Colorado Springs city councilman representing District 6, which includes Banning Lewis Ranch. “Those properties are a hedge in case we can't do the reservoir in the primary location. Once we get that location complete, then we'll move on the properties at Jimmy Camp, but not until then.”
   “We're still a ways out on phase 2 of the project,” Rummel said. “We're getting the properties at Upper Williams as part of the phase 1 budget so we can construct it at the later date.” The Jimmy Camp properties will be reassessed by the city and regional leaders to determine other uses for them, including open space.
   Fishing is still at least 10 years away for Falcon residents, regardless of which site is filled. “As part of the Upper Williams plan, we do envision recreational uses there, including fishing and boating,” Rummel said. “But that will go through a whole separate public process. We also have to consider water quality impacts from recreational activities, so we'll have to balance that.”


(Click photo to enlarge)

(Click photo to enlarge)

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