Denver will spend $290,000 to study flooding in Globeville

It could be the first step toward significant new infrastructure spending in the residential and industrial district along the South Platte River.

A map of the Globeville-Utah stormwater basin. (City and County of Denver)
A map of the Globeville-Utah stormwater basin. (City and County of Denver)
A map of the Globeville-Utah stormwater basin. (City and County of Denver)

The city of Denver is launching a $290,000 study of flooding in the Globeville area. It could be the first step toward significant new infrastructure spending in the residential and industrial district along the South Platte River.

They’re tackling a persistent problem.

The city spent some $25 million to reduce flooding in Globeville in the 2000s, as the Denver Post’s Jon Murray previously reported. That project included building thousands of feet of levees along the banks of the South Platte River.

However, the city and the Urban Drainage and Flood Control district have since discovered new vulnerabilities that could return parts of the neighborhood to the flood plain, as Murray reported.

As of 2014, the area’s current drainage systems were “typically undersized for a two-year storm event,” meaning they can’t handle storms that have a 50 percent chance of happening in a given year, according to a neighborhood plan.

The study could take months.

It kicks off with a community meeting on May 9 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Stapleton Recreation Center.

From then, coordinators will work until early 2019 to gather community concerns, investigate the conditions and present recommendations.

The study could present a wide range of solutions, including “those addressing individual property needs, neighborhood-scale green solutions, and stormwater and flood control infrastructure projects will be explored in partnership with the community,” according to Leesly Leon, a spokesperson for the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative, which is the office coordinating the city’s north Denver infrastructure spending.

The project will be run by Denver Public Works and the NDCC, working with the consultants Merrick & Company and OV Consulting.

The city’s plans at the time identified more than $60 million of possible improvements. The intersection of West 52nd Avenue and Bannock Street is especially vulnerable to flooding, according to city documents.

Denver City Council agreed to raise stormwater rates in 2016, raising $383 million to spend on infrastructure. The Platte to Park Hill project, protecting Interstate 70 and neighborhoods along the south side of the river, will cost nearly $300 million.

The city also is already working on several water and flood-control projects in the Globeville-Utah basin, including near 43rd and Sherman.

Andrew Kenney

Author: Andrew Kenney

Andrew Kenney writes about public spaces, Denver phenomena and whatever else. He previously worked for six years as a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. His most prized possession is his collection of bizarre voicemail. Leave him one at 303-502-2803, or email akenney@denverite.com.