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Colorado Springs mayor urges end to lawsuits as stormwater project gets under way

May 18, 2017 Updated: May 18, 2017 at 5:00 pm
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Two Colorado Springs employees work to widen a drain on Logan Avenue south of Platte Avenue on Thursday. The project is the first of 26 that were approved in April when voters allowed Colorado Springs to keep $12 million in excess revenue for stormwater projects.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers on Thursday celebrated the start of $12 million in voter-approved stormwater projects while urging state and federal officials to drop a lawsuit against the city claiming years of neglected stormwater needs.

"I'm grateful that our city's voters have chosen to address much needed dollars in our critical stormwater infrastructure," Suthers said.

The mayor's remarks came as crews began work on a $15,000 project to double the size of a drain on Logan Avenue that routinely clogged - flooding the street south of Platte Avenue.

It marked the first of 26 projects that were outlined in ballot Issue 2, which Colorado Springs voters overwhelmingly approved in April. The measure allowed the city to keep $12 million in excess revenues in 2016 and 2017 specifically for stormwater projects.

Suthers campaigned heavily for the initiative, arguing that it allowed the city the flexibility needed to meet a 20-year, $460-million agreement with Pueblo to upgrade its stormwater infrastructure.

He also touted it as a sign of Colorado Springs' commitment to addressing its stormwater needs as the city fends off a lawsuit by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment over stormwater deficiencies.

On Thursday, Suthers implored state and federal officials to review the Pueblo agreement and offer suggestions for additional projects that would allow the city to avoid further litigation.

"They seem very intent on very expensive discovery and all that sort of thing," Suthers said. "I really do think this issue could be resolved."

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Contact Jakob Rodgers: 476-1654

Twitter: @jakobrodgers

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