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Storm Drain Improvements Underway For North Park Hill Neighborhood

DENVER (CBS4)- Storm drain improvements began Monday for the North Park Hill neighborhood after spring rains caused damaging flooding for many residents.

Homeowners in the neighborhood near 33rd and Olive woke to the sounds of construction crews early Monday and were pleasantly surprised.

"It's joy," said Elton Roses, whose in-laws' home flooded several times, "It's hope."

Construction crews began working on relocating some water and gas lines in the area to make room for a temporary solution that Denver Public Works has planned. That plan includes replacing the 12-inch pipe currently underground with a slightly larger one in an effort to alleviate some of the flooding. It also would add an inlet to the northwest corner of 33rd and Olive to intercept some of the water before it reaches the low point on Olive street.

"Please recall that this storm system work we have planned at 33rd and Olive is an interim solution that will work to reduce the frequency of flooding at this location in smaller storms, but not stop flooding entirely, especially in a large storm event," Director of Marketing and Communications for Denver Public Works Nancy Kuhn said in a statement. "We do not have an exact schedule on when our storm system work will begin."

olive street flood
Flooding on Olive Street (credit: Jeanne Shulze)

Several homes were severely damaged during heavy rain storms this past spring and summer, forcing some residents out of their homes. Neighbors have spent several years hoping the City of Denver would do something about the failing storm drains, but often felt like their concerns were ignored.

"They would basically tell us it's not their problem," Roses said.

According to Denver Public Works, the city is in need of $1.4 billion worth of storm drain repairs for the city. The larger storm sewer system needed in the area of 38th and Holly to 33rd and Olive would cost $22 million.

"Funding for that $22 million dollar project has yet to be identified," Kuhn stated in the email.

Roses said the city needs to "step up to the plate" and pay for the permanent fix just like his family had to scramble to find the money to repair their flooded home.

Construction crews in the North Park Hill neighborhood (credit: CBS)

"They spend money on other things that are probably not as important as this," Roses said, "but when the burden of $10,000 comes suddenly to a family, it's not just an easy burden to just come up with $10,000."

As the timeline for replacement pipes and permanent repairs remain in limbo, homeowners like Johnnie Chapman are happy to see the problem finally being addressed, "All we can do is wait."

The current construction is expected to take three days and should wrap up Wednesday.

Residents were sent a letter from the construction company notifying that their water would be shut off during repairs on Monday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


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