Gary Swanstrom now owns the 28 acres on South Boulder Creek. It's been in the family since 1898, when his great grandfather moved there while working in the nearby mines in Marshall. It's a beautiful place, full of trees, grasses, wildflowers and wildlife. It's why Swanstrom decided to build his dream home on the property.
With the help of family members, he has been working on a brand new house and a second structure that is part garage, part barn. Boulder County gave him the building permits a year ago.
But a week ago, the City of Boulder notified him that his property is part of one plan to build a flood mitigation pond. It would sit right where his house is.
"Well the irony is," Swanstrom said, "that Boulder County gives me a permit to build the structures, but the city of Boulder is the one that has the plan to, if accepted, lead to the removal of the structures."
Swanstrom is fighting the plan. He has notified all his friends and neigbors, put up a sign and flyers out on Marshall Road, and started a website with information and options. (www.rescuemarshall.com). He says if the city decides to use his property, the beauty would be replaced by a 5-foot deep hole in the ground.
A spokesperson for the City of Boulder says the pond on Swanstrom's land is only one of seven different proposals being considered. Jody Jacobson says recent studies have identified 700 structures and 12 hundred dwellings that could be flooded if there is a bad storm that would cause South Boulder Creek to overflow.
She says flood mitigation plans are needed to avoid losing life and property. Other options include using land on Boulder open space and property owned by the University of Colorado for mitigation. Jacobson also says the city will consider public input before deciding which plan will be adopted. That should happen sometime next year.
In the meantime, Gary Swanstrom plans to keep fighting - to save his home, and a beautiful piece of the county that his family has owned for 112 years.
(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)