Tuesday, October 1, 2013

One Wall, Too Many Bricks?

Between the August and September floods in Manitou Springs, a wall was built. And that's not all: the wall may have saved the city from much worse flooding.

The Lofts and Shops had a brick wall built around a section of Fountain Creek that curves away from the property. Flooding in August caused a concern the creek would flood again, and a higher brick wall was built to “mitigate” the danger and possibility of flooding, according to documents posted on the city’s website.

Turns out the wall was illegal and the city issued a "cease and desist order" according to a person who left public comments at a September 17 city council meeting.

Fountain Creek. 9/13/13
Dan Folke, city Planning Director, stated the reason for the cease and desist order was because “regulations require that a hearing be held before the Historic Preservation Committee before this type of construction is permitted.” Folke is a city staff liaison with the same HPC.

According to the same page, the HPC did not meet in June or August. A website link to a HPC September 4 meeting remains down.

The illegal wall may have prevented further flooding and destruction. In a photo taken September 13, the creek’s water levels are clearly above the height of the old wall. One can clearly see water could have rushed over the walls onto the pavement and rushed down towards Canon Avenue, already hit hard by flooding in August.

Fountain Creek. 10/1/13
Folke is also the city’s Flood Recovery Manager.



  1. Planning commissions are set in place for reasons as are building codes. The HPC preserves our historic buildings, bridges and walls that is what helps make us different from other small town in America. The block wall also damages the historic green stone wall and is too high. It looks horrible. Really, why was it built and what property is it protecting?
    If everyone went about flood mitigation on their own rather than getting the experts to design what needs to be done we will have water flowing and damaging other properties as you protect your own. We are dealing with a flood situation none of us have lived with in this area before, it does take time to figure the best resolution. There are no easy answers and it is a very difficult time. Year to year with the different amounts of rain fall it will be different as well. This year was extraordinary. We have a lot to learn and have to deal with this with patience.....and grit.

    1. Hi Gwenn David,

      "There are no easy answers and it is a very difficult time."

      Agreed. Also, have you seen anyone advocating that people ought to do their own flood mitigation for all of Manitou Springs? If so, please let us know!

      "Really, why was it built and what property is it protecting?"

      Story from KRDO: http://www.krdo.com/news/cinderblock-wall-prevents-destruction/-/417220/22248116/-/10d7272/-/index.html