Neighbors worry Denver flood control project could result in destruction of their homes

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DENVER -- What if the city forced you to sell your house for a project it promises would prevent disastrous flooding? It's a threat for as many as 50 homeowners in one of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods.

The controversy is in the heart of the Cole neighborhood just south of the coliseum.

For four years Warren Karberg has called his house near East 38th Avenue and High Street home. “My neighbor here is second generation here. On both sides of me is the same family,” said Karberg.

Two blocks away Michael Dugan, bought his house just last month.

“These are the blocks they are talking about taking down, “said Dugan. They, along with dozens of others in the Cole neighborhood say their houses could be demolished if one of the city's storm water drainage plans becomes a reality.

“I think about the amount of buildings and homes of people they would have to destroy and how much its going to change this area,” Dugan said.

“The goal of this project is to provide flood protection to hundreds of homes in this part of town that are vulnerable to flooding,” said spokesperson for Denver Public Works, Nancy Kuhn.

The city says it will decide between two sites for a storm water detention pond, a temporary place for storm water.

One is right on the edge of the Cole neighborhood.

“This option right here which is option 1B in the plan would take out over 55 single family homes and some multi-family properties as well,” said Karberg.

The other option puts it in City Park Golf Course.

“We think that`s a much better option than people losing their homes or decimating 1-2 blocks of this neighborhood,” said Karberg.

With flooding a major concern in north Denver, a decision has to be made.

“We`re trying to be as creative as possible to create this amenity this protection to the community while minimizing any impact to private property,” said Kuhn

The city says a final decision will be made in February.

It is asking for public input during several neighborhood meetings this month.