On Feb. 2, the Town of Estes Park welcomed officials from partner agencies at the county, state and federal levels to discuss flood mitigation needs in downtown Estes Park. During a presentation and walking tour Mayor Bill Pinkham, Town Administrator Frank Lancaster, Community Development Director Alison Chilcott, Public Works Director Greg Muhonen and Floodplain Manager/Chief Building Official Will Birchfield explained the hydrologic effects of the 2013 flood on downtown due to undersized channels, bridges and culverts. Amy Hamrick, owner of Kind Coffee, joined the group to explain the challenges she faced post-flood as she reconstructed her business during a three-month closure.
Town leaders also underscored the importance of mitigating flood risk throughout downtown before FEMA remaps the floodplains in an estimated five years. With community support, several potential mitigation projects could be pursued, when funding becomes available, to increase river capacity by widening channels and upgrading bridges and culverts. These projects would aim to increase public safety, improve economic sustainability through reduced flood risk, and keep the most possible properties out of a new regulatory floodplain in order to reduce the economic impact of rising flood insurance costs to owners.
“We wanted to bring potential supporting and funding agencies together to discuss current and needed planning efforts, technical studies, and the imminent need for several downtown flood mitigation projects – to show them the big picture of how Estes Park needs to protect its economic core from future flood events,” explained Town Administrator Frank Lancaster. While discussions with the agencies about distinct projects have been ongoing since the 2013 flood, this is the first time all agencies came together to take a holistic look at mitigation needs. “This dialogue will assist us in preparing effective competitive grant applications -- when they receive a grant application for a potential project downtown, they will have a better feel for how the project fits with other projects to cumulatively benefit downtown.”
Represented agencies included the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Colorado Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Colorado Department of Local Affairs, FEMA, Governor Hickenlooper’s Office, Larimer County, and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.
Subscribe to receive Town news and/or meeting agendas in your email inbox by visiting www.estes.org. More Town news is available at www.estes.org/news, www.facebook.com/townofestesparkco and www.twitter.com/townofestespark.
Photo Credit: Town of Estes Park