Rally protests Denver’s proposed flood diversion plan

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DENVER -- A Save-The-Park rally at the corner of Denver’s historic City Park Golf Course stirred up some emotion from residents in Denver’s northeast neighborhoods on Saturday.

Neighbors from nearby Cole, Park Hill and other northeast neighborhoods held signs and handed out fliers asking community members for support.

“The Platte to Park Hill storm water project supports the development that's going on in the Platte Valley and who's being asked to bear the burden are the residents that live in the historic neighborhoods,” said Kimberly Morse, a Cole neighborhood resident.

Right where the angry residents stood Saturday is where Denver’s newest flood mitigation plan calls for the construction a huge stormwater detention pond.

“This stormwater does no benefit to any northeast Denver neighborhoods. If you look at the FEMA maps, we're not in the flood zone,” Morse said.

The signs say what they believe, that the expansion of Interstate 70, not a 100-year flood protection plan, is the city's motivating force behind the city's drainage projects.

“Basically, the city is trying to divert water 90 degrees right in my neighborhood to avoid the I-70 project and they also don;t want the sheet of water to hit the National Western Stock Show,” said Heidi Sue Harris, also a resident of the Cole neighborhood.

They are fighting against what they call an invasive project the residents say will scar the golf course and disturb potentially toxic soils at the sacrifice of neighbors.

“It’s like do you want to drink a cup full of nails or do you want a mug full of Draino? We've got two terrible options and our answer is no to both and we can't seem to say that loud enough,” Harris said.

Several people said they plan to file a lawsuit against the city to stop the construction of the plan.

The city said it needs to build the pond and a one-mile long canal to handle stormwater drainage. It will be partly paid for by increasing water fees.