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LETTERS: SDS a model project; solutions to a problem

By: Gazette readers
May 2, 2016 Updated: May 2, 2016 at 2:11 pm
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Dennis Auge, an engineer with MWH working on the Southern Delivery System, watches water spewing from the SDS northern fork outlet at the Pueblo Dam on Aug. 6, 2015. The $829 million Southern Delivery System is ahead of schedule and $156 million below budget. Photo Logan Riely, The Gazette

Here's a look at recent letters to the editor from Gazette readers:

Successful SDS a model project

Now that the first drops of water have been captured in Pueblo Reservoir, pumped through 50 miles of pipe via three pump stations, processed through the Edward W. Bailey Water Treatment Plant and delivered to Colorado Springs Utilities and Southern Delivery System (SDS) partners' customers, it is appropriate to reflect on what has been accomplished, who played a part in this monumental project and what SDS means for our communities.

It has been widely reported that the project was completed on schedule and approximately $160 million under budget. Many people may not know, however, that SDS has been among the largest, most complex and innovative water projects built in the western U.S. in recent years. It has been the subject of articles in numerous trade publications, considered to be a model for successful project construction and management.

SDS is the culmination of the courageous and thoughtful decisions of current and previous mayors and council members of Colorado Springs and Fountain, as well as board members of Security and Pueblo West. It was conceived by brilliant and forward-thinking engineers and attorneys who put the project pieces in place. But above all, the success of the SDS project can be attributed to the tireless efforts of John Fredell, the SDS program manager. Beyond John's personal contribution to the project, he assembled a talented team and inspired them with the courage to do things that they had never done before - that nobody had done before. There are a handful of people without whom SDS could not have been accomplished, and John is at the top of that list.

SDS will be an enormous addition to the water portfolios of Colorado Springs and the other SDS project partners for generations to come. For the Security Water District, SDS water fills an immediate need to help ensure the quality, quantity and reliability of the water supplied to the District's customers. There is no way that the Security Water District could have undertaken a project on its own that would provide benefits close to what the SDS project provides.

On behalf of the customers and the Board of Directors of the Security Water District, I would like to express our appreciation to everyone who has been responsible for turning the SDS dream into water flowing from our taps.

- Roy E. Heald, Security Water District

Cannot change the past

History cannot be changed. Making a change in the present for a mistake of past is not a justifiable reason for taking Andrew Jackson off the front of the $20 bill. Such a change has no purpose because it cannot change the past.

Jackson is regarded with either total admiration or burning hate. He was a controversial person but, just because Jackson thought "paper money isn't real money" and owned slaves does not mean Harriet Tubman should take his place. His slave ownership pales in comparison to the likes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson who are on the penny, $1 bill and the nickel. Will they, too, be removed from currency for owning slaves?

Yes, Jackson owned slaves, but his acts of stealing land from the Native Americans were significantly more atrocious than his acts toward slaves. If it is a form of reparation, let's put a Native American male or female on the bill. It seems we are overlooking and exacerbating what Jackson's face on a bill really means. It is a monument to him and our history in the same way a monument honors George Washington. If we want to show our love for Tubman, put her on the $5 bill with Lincoln who had similar ideals. Why not build her a monument? Why not forge a new and valuable coin with her on it? Why not start a charity under her name? There is so much more we can do.

We cannot change the past but we can learn from it to change the future!

- Jacob Zeiters, Colorado Springs

Creative solutions to a problem

Since the Department of the Air Force seems to think the New Santa Fe Trail through the grounds of the Air Force Academy never needs to reopen, it's time to think of creative solutions to this problem. I have a couple of ideas that should move this forward.

1) Strategic closures of Academy and North Gate Boulevards on football game days - both before and after the games.

2) A countywide (it's a county trail, right?) 40 percent lodging tax on Parents' Day and graduation weekends until an alternate trail around the Air Force Academy is fully funded.

Game on!

- Alan Versaw, Colorado Springs

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