Elbert County rainfall leaves damage in wake

Church loses driveway, golf course sees swath of destruction

Editor's note: Due to an error in print production, this week's print edition of the Elbert County News includes an original version of this story that does not reflect several updates that came in over the weekend, including the closure of Spring Valley Golf Club until next year, the date of the Elizabeth High School football fundraiser, and the date of the Creekside Community Church reopening. This online version is correct and is available for free with no paywall. 
This year Elbert County has endured extreme amounts of rainfall and flooding. The National Weather Service in Boulder estimates that “Elbert County has received between 16 and 22 inches of rain so far this year.” The Elizabeth area has received anywhere from 23.02 to 27.30 inches. For comparison, “the 2022 year to date (Aug. 5) precipitation generally averaged between 7 and 10 inches.”
The rain has taken a huge toll on the community. The Elbert County commissioners declared a local disaster and requested assistance from the state on June 11. According to Prairie Times magazine's Elbert County Connection, the number of road closures peaked in June at 48, and employees of Elbert County Road & Bridge worked 1,538 hours of overtime in a one-month period.
Creekside Community Church, along Elbert County Road 13 on the north side of Elizabeth, has had a unique problem. Their driveway goes right over Running Creek and was completely washed away. Accessing the church from CR 13 has been impossible. Basic utilities like electricity, gas and water were all endangered.
Carrie Breckenridge, the office administrator, explained that a neighbor to the east has allowed church staff temporary off-road access to the building via his property. Repair work was expected to begin Aug. 1 but continued rain and flooding stalled those efforts before reconstruction finally got underway.
“The damage was to the church driveway (not the bridge, which is still standing!). About 75 feet of driveway was destroyed,” explained Pastor Luke Heirendt. “This is our only public access to church, so we met online for two weeks, and then have been meeting at Evans Park on Sundays for church services.”
Moving church services outside has attracted new attendees but is hard on older members of the congregation. The congregation is looking forward to being able to gather in their building soon. The church has announced it will resume services in its sanctuary on Aug. 20 and is inviting community members to a free lunch and bounce houses after services on that date.
The cost of repairing the driveway will be over $70,000. The church does not qualify to use any county emergency repair funds, but they've already raised a portion of the money needed. “Many people have stepped up to give and to give generously,” said Heirendt. “We are incredibly grateful to have received over $22,000 so far in donations to help us pay for these repairs. Every gift helps!”
The church is relying on volunteers to help clean up the flood debris. They have had several church workdays and some community groups have stepped in to lend manpower. The Elbert County Republicans, Hitch n' Post Hay and Dads of Elbert County have all donated their time to help with cleanup.
Creekside Community Church is accepting donations to help fund repairs at creekside.cc. Checks can also be mailed directly to Creekside Community Church, PO Box 1208, Elizabeth, CO 80107.
Spring Valley Golf Club has also had to contend with flood damage. General Manager Vladimir Mocevic announced that due to the flood damage and staffing challenges, the golf course and restaurant closed for the season on Aug. 12 and will reopen next spring.
Mocevic wrote that a golf course construction firm is slated to start work on Aug. 21. The work is expected to take six to eight weeks as the firm reshapes three greens complexes and does fairway work. Staff also will take part in course cleanup and maintenance. Mocevic said repairs and restoration will cost upward of $500,000 in addition to millions in lost revenue.
Running Creek winds through Spring Valley Golf Club and Mocevic says it is “usually bone-dry by mid-June.” This year, the creek was still overflowing in mid-August.
The creek is normally 5-15 feet wide but at the worst of the flooding it grew to 800. Thirty feet of shoreline was washed away on the #11 green by South Augusta Road. Irrigation lines were broken, car paths were washed away, and some fairways were under feet of water for the better part of a day.
The course might appear functional from CR 17-21, but three bridges that golfers need to cross the creek are completely washed out and need to be rebuilt. Fallen trees, standing water and huge piles of sediment mar the playing surfaces, which include some of the greens and majority of the fairways.
Elizabeth High School football usually has their biggest fundraiser of the year at Spring Valley Golf Club. The Football Booster Club has been brainstorming alternatives on incredibly short notice. A fundraiser at Top Golf in Centennial will take the place of the annual golf tournament. This event will take place on Sept. 24 from 9 a.m. to noon. The cost is $90 per person and includes breakfast.
The football team is also selling Cardinal Cards (a card with local discount deals) for $30 apiece. For more information about supporting the EHS football team, contact Coach Michael Zoesch at mzoesch@esdk12.org.
Elbert County, flooding, Elizabeth, Spring Valley Golf Club, Colorado


Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.