Manitou Springs businesses remember Waldo Canyon fire

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MANITOU SPRINGS — A decade ago, Adam’s Mountain Cafe, a staple small business in Manitou Springs, filled with water as flash floods hit downtown.

“I was looking at this damage and just assuming there was no way to recover from it. I mean, I had never seen anything like it,” says Farley McDonough, owner of Adam’s Mountain Cafe.

The Waldo Canyon Fire not only forced the entire town of Manitou Springs to evacuate, but the burn scar it left resulted in major damage when it rained.

“The water totally got into the restaurant, it got to the bottom of our tables, all of the dining room, all of our equipment in the kitchen,” McDonough said.

With the imminent danger of fire and flooding, Manitou Springs has become much calmer than usual in the years since the Waldo Canyon fire.

“Manitou was open for business and the city, in a weird way, was beautiful,” McDonough said. “The problem is that if you’re a visitor coming to this area, you just hear that there’s flooding and it could happen at any time, and you see all the signs that say ‘Run to the Heights’ and that is really intimidating and scary.”

Marc Snyder, the former mayor of Manitou Springs, remembers applying for numerous grants after businesses, like Adam’s Mountain Cafe, were flooded in a bid to keep the city’s economy afloat.

“We were facing an existential threat because summer is our bread and butter. We’re making, you know, 60%…65% of our revenue in this Memorial Day to Labor Day window,” Snyder said. .

Flash forward to 2022 and Adam’s Mountain Cafe has now been in business for over 30 years. The cafe eventually moved out of the city center due to constant flooding.

“Manitou strong. I don’t know what else to say, you know, it’s a very resilient community,” McDonough said.

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