Olympian sand for biblical floods

July 18, 2013 Updated: July 19, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Officials plan to construct an Olympic-sized volleyball court next week on Tejon Street, providing a sandy stage for the region's best volleyball players.

It's a sandbox that promises to be more than just fun and games.

On July 26, crews will use 190 tons of sand to stage a volleyball tournament in downtown Colorado Springs as a part of the second Olympic Downtown Celebration. About a week later, that same sand will be placed in thousands of bags during a free sandbag giveaway organized by the Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management.

The sandbags are a unique twist on an annual event that has been known to turn downtown Colorado Springs into a unique sports venue. Last year, organizers created a ice rink downtown, offering residents the chance to catch ice skating and curling matches.

This year, there will be a 46-foot-by-72-foot volleyball court on Tejon Street as part of the festivities, which will also include live music and sports demonstrations. "It will have a real professional look," said Tom Osborne, president and chief executive of The Sports Corp. "It will look like an Olympic-style beach volleyball event."

The sand, which was donated by Transit Mix and C&C Sand and Stone, will later be used to help residents in danger of flooding from the Waldo Canyon fire. The giveaway will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 3 at the Verizon building at 2424 Garden of the Gods Road.

No matter how special this Olympic sand may be, flood experts say it will do little unless stacked properly - an issue that has emerged since last year's devastating wildfire.

Flash floods have ripped down Ute Pass and into Manitou Springs in recent weeks, destroying houses and turning roads into raging rivers. The force of that water can easily tear through sandbag walls that ware poorly constructed, said Carol Ekarius, executive director of the Coalition for the Upper South Platte.

"They don't tend to float, but they can be moved by water if they're not locked into each other well," Ekarius said.


Contact Jakob Rodgers: 476-1654

Twitter @jakobrodgers

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