Since purchasing the 308-acre CU Boulder South site in 1996, the university has kept the space open to the public for continued access — and it’s important to note that public access to CU’s property will continue now that the property is annexed. In the intervening years, however, the area was identified by leading hydrologists and senior planners as an optimal location for flood protections for thousands of Boulder residents.
Nearly 10 years after these first conversations, floodwater from the 2013 Boulder County floods gushed over U.S. 36, causing approximately $38 million in property damage citywide. The Frasier Meadows retirement community, with an average resident age of 87, was at greatest risk and ultimately sustained more than $11 million in damages — the costliest individual recovery effort in the state, according to FEMA officials at the time. During the flood, Frasier Meadows employees escorted residents -- many in wheelchairs -- to safety through rising flood water and mud.
As our nationally recognized climate scientists and researchers point out, extreme weather events will become the new normal, and there is no predicting when the next floods will come.
We must prepare for these events, and we must act with great urgency to protect our community members. The CU Boulder South Annexation Agreement was meticulously designed to do just that, providing protection for 2,300 downstream residents and 1,100 homes.