Construction is under way on a long-planned storm-water drain and pond north of 32nd Street, but the total cost of the project likely will not be known until a lawsuit about land acquisition works its way through court.Public Works Director Jack Rogers said Tuesday he expects construction to take about 60 days. The project will include a retention pond north of 32nd Street adjacent to the TL Roofing property and a 48-inch pipeline connecting the pond to an oxbow lake in the Animas Valley.
The holding pond will be used to collect storm-water runoff from 32nd Street and the Holly Avenue neighborhood, where sediment and pollutants will be deposited, before the water is dumped into the oxbow and ultimately drains into the Animas River. The water currently drains directly into the river from the city streets.
Several environmental gro-ups, including the Animas River Task Force, have raised concerns that the quarter-acre retention pond is not adequate to fully treat the storm water before its destination in the river. Rogers said the city agrees more will be needed in the future.
"We have to find additional property; we're working on that, and we'll retrofit the system when we find another spot," Rogers said, referring to a location for a possible second retention pond.
He said the project's construction cost will be $492,558, and funding is included in the 2009 capital-improvements projects budget.
The new system will allow for construction of the 25-unit East Animas Village, a low-income senior living project which will be built by the Volunteers of America in the Animas Valley. Rogers said construction has been delayed because the added paved area of the village would have created too much runoff for the existing storm-water drainage.
First planned by city engineers in the late 1980s, the project has been slow to progress while the city threatened to exercise eminent domain to acquire several properties necessary for the system.
City Attorney David Smith said the pipeline is now able to be installed because a condemnation action is under way with Larry Simmons, who owns the Animas Valley property where the oxbow is located.
The city has paid a $12,762 deposit to Simmons for a temporary 10-foot-by-884-foot easement across Simmons' property, but Simmons is asking for more in court.
Smith said he expects the project to be completed by the time a jury or commission decides the final amount to be paid to Simmons for the land. The permanent easement will be four-tenths of an acre.