Project Summary

The COS Creek Plan establishes a comprehensive vision for the future investments and stewardship of the Fountain Creek Watershed with a specific focus on segments of the Monument and Fountain creeks adjacent to Downtown Colorado Springs. The COS Creek Plan establishes an implementable vision, which respects our communities’ values, responds to infrastructure needs, and leverages opportunities. The Plan is a unique partnership between Pikes Peak Waterways (non-profit), the City of Colorado Springs (Stormwater Enterprise), and Colorado Springs Utilities. It is intended to create excitement, foster collaboration, and identify public and private partnership opportunities.

The entire COS Creek Plan corridor includes portions of Monument Creek and Fountain Creek along with the confluence of the two creeks at America the Beautiful Park. The northernmost extent is located on Monument Creek at the Austin Bluffs Parkway bridge. The study area extends south to the confluence of Fountain Creek and Shooks Run Creek, just southeast of Dorchester Park and east of the South Nevada Avenue bridge.

Partners and Collaborators

A Holistic Vision

The Fountain and Monument Creek Corridor has always been the lifeblood of Colorado Springs. The Corridor’s rich natural resources sustained Native American tribes and attracted European settlers. General Palmer, the founder of Colorado Springs, realized the scenic and recreational value of the area and created a network of parkways that have been a defining element of Colorado Springs’ identity. Over time, the natural character and functions of the Corridor have been altered and disconnected, the richness diminished, and the Creek itself inaccessible.

The COS Creek Plan lays out a comprehensive vision and strategy to integrate and implement recommendations of multiple planning efforts completed in the recent past to restore the Creek’s environmental qualities, to promote economic vitality, and to greatly enhance and expand the recreational opportunities that were important to General Palmer’s original vision.

The principles that guide this vision for the corridor and watershed are based on the belief that stormwater and flood risk management can be an integral part of a larger idea that maintains and restores natural functions of the creeks, provides opportunities for recreation and relaxation, and enhances the economic value and quality of life for citizens and visitors of Colorado Springs.

COS Creek Plan Guiding Principles

Restore the Natural Functions of the Corridor

Reestablish natural functions of the Monument and Fountain Creek floodplains as a part of a larger plan where all stream courses within the watershed are multi-use, multi-functional community assets.

Create a Premiere Destination for Outdoor Recreation and Leisure

Expand recreation opportunities to take advantage of the corridor’s natural scenic and recreational qualities to unlock its full potential.

Support Economic Vitality and Revitalization

Capitalize on corridor and waterway enhancements to encourage economic development and revitalization through traditional private development as well as public/private partnerships.

Build a Strong Sense of Place Unique to Colorado Springs

Enhance the corridor’s natural qualities and recreational potential integrated within the City of Colorado Springs to strengthen its sense of place, distinct identity, improve the quality of life for residents, and provide memorable experiences for visitors.


Active Project

America the Beautiful Park

A Celebration of the Confluence of Fountain and Monument Creeks

The confluence of Monument and Fountain creeks has strong potential to stimulate further investment and create a more cohesive urban fabric from the downtown core to creekside. This will be the entry point for water activities such as fishing, tubing and stand-up paddle boarding. This will become a central recreation point for downtown residents and tourists visiting the Pikes Peak Region. The City of Colorado Springs Stormwater Enterprise has contracted with the team of Merrick & Company (Engineering) and Wenk Associates (Landscape Architecture, Urban Design and Planning) to provide preliminary design services for infrastructure design, park design, river and streambank design and civil engineering for this project located at America the Beautiful Park along Monument and Fountain Creeks in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Project Status: The first of the COS Creek Plan projects being implemented

Monument Valley Park and Centennial Neighborhood

A restored park design and a new neighborhood

This project site celebrates the Creek around Monument Valley Park (MVP), restoring the creekside pastoral qualities envisioned over a century ago. New opportunities include reclaimed land for development and restored natural corridor for active and passive recreation. The design explores opportunities for multipurpose infrastructure that benefits the Creek ecosystem, stormwater, and community.

College Landing at Uintah

A gateway to the Old North End and a connected Colorado College campus

As the primary entry to the Colorado College campus and Old North End, this area should celebrate the educational and historical heart of Colorado Springs. The Creek brings together the campus and southern end of Monument Valley Park to provide a destination for leisure activities and campus ceremonies along the Creek, while maintaining the continuity of natural systems.

Drake Waterfront Reimagined

A catalyst for redevelopment and neighborhood connections to the waterway

As the historic Martin Drake Power Plant site undergoes an extensive visioning process, new possibilities are under consideration for recreation, development, water quality, and habitat along the approximate one-mile section of neglected and forgotten creek frontage. This project calls for engaged creekside land use and reconnection of the Mill Street Neighborhood, following Fountain Creek from Cimarron Street south and east to Las Vegas Street.

Gateway Park South

A new nature-based park for the existing Mill Street and surrounding neighborhoods

This is a vital renewal effort for the southern gateway into Downtown Colorado Springs. Designed around the existing historic structure, a revitalized and reconstructed park provides a central gathering place for the south-end as part of a comprehensive redevelopment of the park. The site functions as the final takeout along the one-mile instream water course. Significant social issues are integral to the overall planning effort for this site and the adjacent creek.

Current RFPs


Why is the COS Creek Plan important to do now?

Nearly 40 plans have been completed that address restoring the creeks’ natural functions and restoring the ecosystem along Fountain and Monument Creeks. These are great plans; however, little to no movement has been implemented. Pikes Peak Waterways, the City of Colorado Springs, and Colorado Springs Utilities have committed to making this vision become a reality, because it is time.

Even though multiple worthy plans have been completed, little to no movement has been implemented on a large scale. The COS Creek Plan is a large scale, very big picture vision plan. This plan includes many aspects of creek restoration and revitalization to create a monumental impact. The collaborative agreement between Pikes Peak Waterways, the City of Colorado Springs, and Colorado Springs Utilities illustrates commitment to see this through.

Conversations have been initiated between numerous public, private and philanthropic stakeholders, which will ensure that the overseeing entity will have the necessary information to allow the recommendations of the COS Creek Plan to move forward to approval and implementation.

Engagement with potential funding sources – public, private and philanthropic – is already taking place.

Public funding will be considered due to the ownership, maintenance and oversight of the waterways.

This project provides opportunities to improve water infiltration, improve water quality, restore wetlands, reestablish functioning floodplains, enhance riparian vegetation, and enhance aquatic habitat.

These projects will indeed create significant and varied employment opportunities.

The COS Creek Plan planning and implementation process will evaluate sustainable funding sources for maintenance.

The COS Creek Plan is anticipated to result in improved pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure along the corridor and increase access to adjacent neighborhoods.

The COS Creek Plan is anticipated to increase property values along the entire corridor. Properties adjacent to sections of the Creek that are currently unkempt or unsafe will likely see the biggest increase in property values.

The COS Creek Plan will be sensitive to the history of Monument Valley Park and other historic places and resources along the corridor that are of historic significance. The project will include consultation with the State, City and local historians.

Each project within the COS Creek Plan has its own set of requirements and timeline. Construction will begin based off funding availability and current waterway needs. Check the Projects page for current updates.

This level of detail will be determined as individual projects are designed and master planned. It is anticipated certain improvements along the corridor may attract large numbers of community members and visitors. For most of the corridor, it is anticipated that a significant number of users will access the Creek by foot or by bicycle.

A continuous partnership with the City of Colorado Springs and other stakeholder partners will be needed to address the goal of increased recreation and trail usage brought about by implementing the COS Creek Plan recommendations. This will necessitate developing a comprehensive program that addresses public health and safety. Examples of areas that will be considered include safe access points to enter and leave the trail, lighting along trails in conjunction with future development, in-water safety protocols, and enforceable regulations to reduce unsafe camping.

A variety of management models and organizational structures will be taken into consideration. Partnerships among local government, nonprofits, and stakeholders are key to day to day and long term sustainability maintenance needs.


Originally Published:
Via: Southern Colorado Business Forum & Digest
Originally Published:
Via: Fox 21 News
Originally Published:
Via: Colorado Springs Business Journal