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Artifacts delay Camp Creek pond project about a year

       The government response to two unexpected archeological finds has caused a pronounced construction delay for a $7.8 million stormwater detention pond on Camp Creek at the north end of the Garden of the Gods.

A view this fall from the Foothills Trail near 30th Street looks across the Camp Creek channel at the north end of the Garden of the Gods, in the area planned for construction of a 17-acre detention pond. Two 19th century artifact finds have delayed the project about a year.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Once planned for a late-2016 groundbreaking, the project is now expected to go out to bids early this year, according to Mike Chaves of Colorado Springs Engineering.
       The project's Environ-mental Assessment summarizes the pond's need, saying it “would reduce the peak outflow rate in the 100-year event to less than half of the inflow rate, thus greatly reducing the size of the floodplain though the Pleasant Valley neighborhood.”
       City officials have declined to detail the locations of the archeological finds or what exactly was found. However, Chaves did clarify that the artifacts date from recent history (late 1800s), including a trash pile with bottles, and they are not Indian-related.
       The discoveries are not seen as show-stoppers. “We're not going to have to start over and move the pond,” Chaves summarized.
       The ultimate outcome for each site will probably be just a placard of some kind, “saying it was here,” he said.
       One of the finds occurred in 2016 as a contractor finished work on a separate project to stabilize Camp Creek itself between the Rock Ledge Ranch and the future pond location.
       Around the same time, the city also became aware of another group of artifacts in that area, Chaves explained.
       The city hired Alpine Archeology to study the historic relevance of the two finds - there's a separate contract for each one - and to recommend how to mitigate the areas where they were located. Two federal agencies have also been involved, plus the State Historic Preservation Office.
       The total cost of the study is “less than $50,000,” Chaves said. The money is coming from the pond-construction budget, for which a Federal Emergency Manage-ment Agency (FEMA) grant is paying 75 percent and the state and city are sharing the balance.
       The pond is one of the major Camp Creek upgrades planned between the upper end of the Garden of the Gods and Fountain Creek, stemming from a city study that included public meetings in 2013 and 2014.

Westside Pioneer article