Damage to Manitou Springs from Monday’s hail, heavy rain and flooding will cost at least $1.5 million — about 15 percent of the city’s general fund budget — prompting Mayor Ken Jaray to declare a local disaster emergency.

The disaster status will enable the city and local residents and businesses to apply for or receive state and federal relief funding. The amount of damage to local businesses and residents has not yet been determined.

“The use of the word disaster doesn’t mean it’s not OK to come here,” Police Chief Joe Ribeiro said. “Everything else is working. We’ve just got some things going on in the background that are going to take us a while to recover from, that are very expensive to recover from.”

Some businesses were damaged by flooding or hail, but most reopened the next day, said Leslie Lewis, executive director of the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Bureau.

“We encourage lots of people to come out and continue to support these businesses,” she said. “They’re resilient, but it’s great to know there wasn’t a lot of concern for them other than a little cleanup.”

A disaster declaration typically is used to open the door for aid from other jurisdictions, said Micki Trost, spokeswoman for the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

“It can be people, equipment, funding — all kinds of different resources that are available,” Trost said. Often a local jurisdiction will declare a disaster before the state or federal government does, she said.

“This is good news for us, because we hope that we’ll be getting help from the state and from our partners locally,” Ribeiro said.

In the days since Monday’s storm, crews have cleared 1,600 cubic yards of sediment and woody debris — about 100 large dump truck loads — from across the city, said Shelley Cobau, the city’s public services director.

Crews are focusing on Serpentine Road, where “we lost some road bed, and Fountain Creek tried to find a new path onto the roadway,” Cobau said. They’ve pushed Fountain Creek back where it historically has flowed and are moving large boulders from the area.

Some areas, including Manitou Avenue, have been cleared — “You’d never know anything happened,” Cobau said.

“I think you’d be proud of my team,” she said. “I am, of the work they’ve done.”

Cobau encouraged residents to contact the city at dgoodboe@comsgov.com to report damage to private property.

“We’ll get a spreadsheet going, and we’ll have that ready if we get a federal disaster declaration, so those people, if they come to town, they know which residents to reach out to right away,” she said.

In a news release, Jaray listed the following as having major damage: Serpentine Road, the Schryver Park parking lot, park and bridges, Soda Springs Park and Pawnee Avenue, along with stormwater system repairs, street and bridge repairs, facility repairs, and sediment and debris removal throughout the city.

“Based on the magnitude of the required repairs, I have determined the needed response to this event is beyond the normal capability of the city of Manitou Springs,” Jaray wrote.

Ellie is a general assignment reporter. She's a proud Midwesterner, stationery hoarder and Earl Grey tea enthusiast. After interning at The Gazette in 2015, she joined the newspaper's staff in 2016.

Load comments