State award honors rebuilding of Bear Creek Nature Center

       The El Paso County Parks Bear Creek Nature Center was recently named a recipient of the 2004 Colorado Lottery Starburst Award in the South Region, comprised of 16 counties, for excellence in the use of lottery funds. This wildlife visitor may be wondering why the nearby 
building isn’t named the “Deer Creek Nature Center.” The 
county-owned facility offers regular outdoors programs and hikes for children and adults.
      Starburst Awards are presented in five geographic regions and five different categories, based on the total cost of the project. The criteria for awards are creative and cost-efficient use of lottery funds, the economic and social impact of the project and community participation.
      As a winner, the Nature Center receives a plaque and signage designating its Award.
      The award honors the rebuilding of the center after being destroyed by an arson fire in 2000.
      Over the years, lottery proceeds had helped develop the center, but the fire destroyed those facilities, wiping out historical documents, interpretive displays, artwork and other irreplaceable items, according to Donna Scheeter, superintendent of Interpre-tation for El Paso County Parks and Leisure Services
       “Citizens of El Paso County responded with an organized effort to rebuild - and to the best of their ability - recapture what they'd lost, and then some,” Scheeter said in a press release. “In addition to the money from the insurance settlement, voters approved the use of excess tax revenues for the project. An aggressive capital campaign netted extra dollars, plus the county contributed $150,000 of its Lottery Conservation Trust Funds to the $1.4 million program.
      “The 9,000 square-foot new facility now features rooms for educational programs, meetings and special events and state-of-the-art interpretive displays. And once again, the children of Colorado Springs are growing up with field trips to Bear Creek Nature Center, and visitors of all ages are enjoying the new nature center facility.”
      The center is at 245 Bear Creek Road, near 26th Street and Lower Gold Camp Road.

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