PARKER, Colo. - Officials are making big moves to open up Rueter-Hess Reservoir to the public.The 1200 acre site in southwest Parker has been filling with water for three years now. It's continuing to be filled, daily.
As of early August reservoir storage was over 21,000 acre-feet. The maximum capacity is 75,000 acre-feet.
Reuter-Hess is 25 years in the making, from inception, permitting and construction to completion in 2012.
Parker Water has partnered up with the Town of Parker and Castle Rock, Douglas County and the Cities of Lone Tree and Castle Pines in hopes to bring the recreational idea to life.
As of right now the reservoir provides water for a majority of Parker, parts of Lone Tree and Castle Pines.
The idea of providing recreation on the site played a huge role when taxpayers said yes to an election ballot issue, which included a mill levy back in 2006 to build the reservoir.
Here's what you can expect down the road:
Other possibilities include:
A possible site for a fireworks display
Gas powered boats will never be allowed on the water in an effort to protect the water supply.
"We actually pump 99 percent of the water in off the Cherry Creek and it doesn't leave," said Ron Redd with Parker Water. "It goes to our water treatment plant and then used as drinking water."
Redd went on to explain there's no river that flows into the reservoir to help flush out any contaminants.
Parker Water plans to sign an intergovernmental agreement with it's partners in Douglas County by the end of this week.
"That will kick off a design phase that will take about 9-12 months," said Parker Water's Susan Saint Vincent. "From then, it's just a big unknown. We'll be looking for public input and we'll have lots of opportunities for people to say and bring their ideas forth.
Saint Vincent says everything is yet to be considered during the master planning process. Funding and staffing all need to be addressed.
It could still be two or three years before the gates actually open to the public.
You can get an up-close look at the reservoir and surrounding facilities. Full tours take about four hours (reduced tours are available). Walking is required and stairs will be encountered at some facilities. The district will provide transportation to and from the outlying facilities. All tours begin on the North Water Reclamation Facility.
Participants must sign up in advance
Some outside walking is required (no open-toes shoes)
Weather appropriate clothing recommended
No children under five
A little history:
During the early stages of construction archeologists walked every step of the 1200 acre site and looked for things that may have been of historical significance. Any evidence found would be put in storage. Archeologists found fire pits and evidence of a village dating back 1500 years. They dug deeper and found evidence of civilizations that go back as far as 9,000 years. Archeologists came to the conclusion that the reservoir site was a gathering area for native Americans in the past.