From Colorado Springs Utilities (Jerry Forte):
Earlier this week, our community lost a great visionary and leader. While many may not think twice about getting a glass of water from the tap, taking a shower or watering their lawns, Gary Bostrom was always planning ahead to ensure our community had the water needed to grow and thrive. It’s thanks to people like Gary that our customers don’t have to think about their water.
Gary retired from Colorado Springs Utilities as the Chief Water Services Officer in 2015 after 36 years of service on most all facets of the water system, from Homestake to Southern Delivery. His career spanned a variety of leadership roles from water supply acquisition, water and wastewater infrastructure planning and engineering, and developing regional partnerships.
Earlier this year, Gary received the Bob Appel Friend of the Arkansas Award at the Arkansas River Water Basin Forum. The award is given annually to honor an individual who has served and worked to improve the condition of the Arkansas River in southeastern Colorado. It was a well-deserved recognition.
A few of Gary’s career highlights include:
The design, development and negotiations for the completion of the Southern Delivery System The development of the Arkansas River Exchange Program The completion and implementation the 1996 Water Resource Plan The establishment of the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District The development of the Fountain Creek Corridor Master Plan The development of Colorado Springs’ Arkansas River Exchange Program
Gary’s career was more than getting water to our community. He also believed in using water wisely. Under his direction, our 2008 Water Conservation Master Plan and 2015 Water Use Efficiency Plan incorporated measures that accumulate a permanent, water use reduction in our community of more than 10,000 acre feet by 2030. That’s a savings of more than 3 billion gallons of water!
Throughout his career, Gary was actively involved in a number of water organizations.
Director of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District Past President of the Fountain Valley Authority Past director of the Aurora-Colorado Springs Joint Water Authority Member of the Homestake Steering Committee Past President of the Twin Lakes Reservoir and Canal Company, the Lake Meredith Reservoir Company and the Lake Henry Reservoir Company
He was a true water champion for our community and region. Thanks in part to Gary’s vision and direction, Colorado Springs has a secure water supply and is a leader in water reuse in the state.
He was brilliant as an engineer and perhaps even better at building relationships and collaborating with others – even staying involved in regional water organizations after retirement.
He was a dear friend and will be missed.
From The Pueblo Chieftain:
A key figure in development of the $825 million Southern Delivery System, died unexpectedly on Monday while bicycling near his home in Colorado Springs. Cause of death has not been determined.
Gary Bostrom, 60, was the retired water services chief for Colorado Springs Utilities and shepherded SDS from its inception in the 1996 Colorado Springs Water Plan toward its eventual completion in 2016. Along the way, he fostered cooperation with Security, Fountain and Pueblo West as partners in SDS, while working to assure a clean drinking water supply for the future of Colorado Springs. He retired in 2015, but remained active in water issues. Bostrom joined the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District board of directors in 2009 and was vice president of the board.
“This is a great loss for the water community,” said Bill Long, president of the Southeastern board. “Gary’s knowledge about water, and his hard work to help achieve common goals will be sorely missed.”Former Chieftain editor and reporter Chris Woodka, who went to work for the Southeastern district last year, agreed.
“I met Gary about 27 years ago, and we were what I would call ‘friendly adversaries’ for many of those years,” Woodka said. “Over the years, our relationship evolved into a true friendship. He was always positive and truthful even when I’d ask him tough questions while I was a reporter. As a board member, he was top-notch, and I enjoyed getting to know him better. He was a wonderful individual to spend time with.”
Officials in Colorado Springs, including Mayor John Suthers, Utilities CEO Jerry Forte and former City Council members expressed their shock and sadness at Bostrom’s death.
Bostrom was active in the community as well and was a member of the Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation Advisory board. He is survived by his wife, Sara, four children and three grandchildren. Services will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at Village Seven Presbyterian Church, 4040 Nonchalant Circle South, Colorado Springs.
From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Ellie Mulder):
Gary Bostrom, one of the driving forces behind Colorado Springs’ $825 million Southern Delivery System, died Monday while cycling on a trail along Monument Creek.
Bostrom, 60, had worked for Colorado Springs Utilities for nearly two-thirds of his life before retiring in 2015.
“He was just a prince of a man,” said John Fredell, former SDS program director who worked with Bostrom for many years. “All of us wish we were more like Gary Bostrom.”
Bostrom’s body was found shortly before 7 p.m. along a section of the trail near North Nevada Avenue and Austin Bluffs Parkway, said police Sgt. James Sokolik. The cause of death has not been determined, but police do not suspect foul play.
“We all wanted and expected another 30 years with Gary,” said former city Councilwoman Margaret Radford.
She said she got to know him soon after she was elected in 2001, and they stayed in touch after she left the council in 2009.
“Gary was always one who could find the good in anyone … and bring out more good, if that makes any sense,” she said.
Bostrom worked at Utilities for 36 years before retiring two years ago, Mayor John Suthers said in a post about Bostrom on his Facebook page.
“Gary spent his career making sure that our community had good, clean water and plenty of it,” Fredell said. “You can’t find many people who have done that for their community, and spent their careers doing it.”
On April 26, the Utilities engineer was given the “Bob Appel – Friend of Arkansas” award at the Arkansas River Water Basin Forum.
The SDS, a massive series of pipelines that funnels up to 50 million gallons a day of Arkansas River water to Colorado Springs, Fountain, Security and Pueblo West, began serving customers in 2016.
Decades of planning went into the project, which is made up of 50 miles of 66- and 90-inch-diameter pipelines, including a 1-mile tunnel under Interstate 25, Fountain Creek and railroad tracks.
Bostrom helped ensure the project was finished on time and under budget, Fredell said.
“(Bostrom) was instrumental in getting the permit in place and moving the Southern Delivery System forward,” said Larry Small, executive director of the Fountain Creek Watershed, Flood Control and Greenway District.
“As far as water resources, there just wasn’t anybody better,” said Small, a former city councilman and vice mayor. “I don’t know of one person who knew Gary who would say one bad thing about him.”
Radford said she’s still grateful for what Bostrom taught her about “how valuable our utilities system – and in particular, our water system – is.” She said it altered her perspective and influenced her work as a councilwoman.