Four years after floods ravaged and damaged more than a third of the State of Colorado physical evidence remains. In Loveland, CO. the aftermath remains apparent in areas, and to return ten properties damaged to their previous glory almost ten million dollars has been required to fix and repair them. One of the ten, Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park, located on U.S. Highway 34, west of Loveland, remains closed as repairs continue. The reopening is scheduled for summer 2018.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (F.E.M.A.) paid sixty percent of the cost, twenty-two percent was covered by the insurance carried by the City of Loveland, another ten percent came from state-level funding, and the remaining eight percent was paid for with grants and by the City of Loveland, which came from the general fund for parks, open lands tax dollars, and golf fees.
To ensure that the properties endure plans including a hydrologic study of the Big Thompson River was made.
Properties damaged by flooding:
• Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park
Perhaps hardest hit of all the properties, the canyon park saw the destruction of the Civilian Conservation Corps picnic shelter, memorials, benches, and the parking lot located on the south side of the property, and substantial damage to the north side of the park, which was filled with silt and debris that traveled through the canyon. Reconstruction of the park included a new channel for the Big Thompson River, picnic areas, trails, a new parking lot, new restroom facilities, and the restoration of historic structures.
• Wild Nature Reserve
• Mariana Butte Golf Course
• Morey Wildlife Reserve
Previously known for its nine-acre pond, the Morey Wildlife Reserve has been transformed with the rebuilding of the trail and an additional loop, along with new vegetation. The pond was not rebuilt because of the cost required to do so. Presently the pond, filled with silt by the flood, has been covered with vegetation.
• Loveland Recreational Trail
Sections of the overall trail were destroyed by the floods, but a new and final trail was completed and reopened in May 2017.
• Namaqua Park and Natural Area
• Centennial Park
The 2013 floods destroyed trails, ball fields, batting cages, and an in-line skating rink. The in-line skating rink was the only thing not restored because it was replaced with pickleball courts.
• River’s Edge Natural Area
At the time the newest recreation area in the city, which was scheduled to be opened on September 23, 2013, it was closed twenty days before the dedication the flood destroyed the boardwalks, fishing docks, trails, historical structures, sidewalks, and the parking lot. The rebuilding involved reestablishing fishing, hiking, and wildlife areas. The property was finally opened to the public in September 2015.
• Fairgrounds Park/Barnes Park
The playground, dog park, ball fields, sidewalks, and trails were damaged by debris, rock, and sand, as well damage caused by railroad tracks that inflicted ruin to the fences surrounding the property and the playground equipment. Repairs to the park included removal of the debris, new vegetation in eroded areas, and an opening in the summer of 2014.
• Old St. Louis Natural Area