Trashy trespassers force History Center into unbudgeted vagrant-proofing

       A history museum is meant to keep track of memorable events from long-ago days.
       But all too often, over the past several months, the volunteers at the Old Colorado City History Center at 1 S. 24th St. have had to deal with an event that's as recent as the night before.
       And it's hardly memorable.
       “Currently we have a major problem with street people using the areas around our building for a bathroom, for sleeping and depositing their trash,” reads the first sentence of a letter to the membership by Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS) Presidents Betty Baker and Kathy McBride in the August issue of West Word, the OCCHS' newsletter.
       The letter goes on to ask for donations to help pay the costs of building alterations that might discourage such activities.
       However, with the problems worsening in early August, the OCCHS board decided not to wait. While still welcoming donations, the all-volunteer nonprofit will dip into its savings account to get the work done as soon as possible, according to board member and former President Sharon Swint.
       The cost will be just over $2,000 for wrought-iron fencing, which will replace the solid, three-foot-high walls along the handicapped-access ramp to the entrance of the 124-year-old building. Vagrants have been hiding behind those walls at night, leaving excrement and other messes multiple times a week. “It's like a horror story,” Swint said.
       The wrought-iron effect, styled after railings outside St. Andrew's Church in Manitou Springs, will be more open, she said. The work is to be done in early September by a local contractor, who is charging only for his costs.
       Other work will involve the installation of motion-sensor lights for the History Center patio and security cameras. Swint did not yet have a total amount for those items.
       Information about the trespassing has been provided to the Colorado Springs Police Department, who have reportedly found temporary housing for one possible suspect who's known to be living on the streets in the vicinity. The CSPD has also advised the OCCHS to keep reporting the problems when they occur.

Westside Pioneer article