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The Town of Monument is a statutory town situated at the base of the Rampart Range in El Paso County, Colorado, United States. Monument is bordered by Pike National Forest on the west, Colorado Springs and the United States Air Force Academy to the south, foothills and rock outcroppings to the north, and rolling plains to the east. Monument was first settled as a stop along the Rio Grande Railroad in 1872, and the area was incorporated as a town called Henry's Station in 1879, but the name was later changed to Monument. The town population was 5,530 at the 2010 United States Census, an increase of 181% from the population of 1,971 in 2000.
Monument's first homesteaders arrived in 1865 to mark out the town's preliminary shape, but settlement increased when Monument became a stop along the Rio Grande Railroad in 1872. The area was incorporated as a town called Henry's Station, after prominent settler Henry Limbach, on June 2, 1879, and the first town meeting was held July 3, 1879. However, three years later the name was changed to Monument after Monument Creek and Monument Rock in the west. The first records of the town can be found in various volumes in the El Paso County Courthouse dating back to 1872. With the help of the railroad, which brought in necessities, people started small businesses and started to create a town.
Monument is located at 39°04′52″N 104°51′45″W. It is north of Colorado Springs and the United States Air Force Academy, and east of the Rampart Range, which is the eastern front range of the Rocky Mountains. Monument Creek, a gentle mountain stream beginning in the Rampart Range, eventually tumbles down through Palmer Lake and the west side of Monument to become one of the main waterways flowing south through Colorado Springs.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Monument has a total area of 4.6 square miles (12 km2), all of it land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,971 people, 725 households, and 550 families residing in the town. The population density was 426.1 people per square mile (164.4/km²). There were 770 housing units at an average density of 166.4 per square mile (64.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 91.98% White, 0.91% African American, 1.42% Native American, 0.96% Asian, 2.03% from other races, and 2.69% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.71% of the population.
There were 725 households out of which 45.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.2% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.1% were non-families. 19.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the town, the population was spread out with 32.9% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 38.3% from 25 to 44, 17.7% from 45 to 64, and 4.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.0 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $50,000, and the median income for a family was $54,211. Males had a median income of $41,071 versus $27,583 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,878. About 5.4% of families and 5.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.4% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over.
Monument has a home rule charter government. This means that the governmental policy is established in a commission and then voted upon by the town council and board of trustees. In this case, the Charter has provided for a council-manager form of government. Provisions are made for a town manager, a mayor, and a board of trustees.
There are seven council members, including the mayor. The mayor is considered part of the town council, and has the same power as a council member. Council members are elected for overlapping 4 year terms, and the mayor is elected for four years as well. A vacancy in office will be filled by voters at a regular or special election, and another council member will be appointed in the meantime. There is a set term limit of two consecutive terms for the mayor and council members. All regular and special meetings must be open to the public, and people must be given the opportunity to be heard. Amendments can be initiated through the council, but such amendments cannot take effect unless approved by a majority of votes cast by the registered electors of the town.
By Colorado law, Monument is a school-choice community. Because of this, there are opportunities for public schools, private schools, charter schools, and home schooling groups. The public school system is Lewis-Palmer School District 38. The Lewis-Palmer District ACT scores (at 23) are about 20% higher than the average state scores (at 19) in the two high schools (Palmer Ridge and Lewis-Palmer High Schools). The Lewis-Palmer district as a whole performs 15-20% better on CSAP tests than the Colorado state average. There are five public elementary schools in District 38: Lewis-Palmer Elementary, Palmer Lake Elementary, Kilmer, Prairie Winds Elementary, and Bear Creek Elementary. There is one public middle school serving all of District 38: Lewis-Palmer Middle School. Monument Academy is the only charter school and serves grades K through 8.
Monument's commerce is made up mostly of small businesses, not larger scale manufacturers. Individually owned shops and services located in the downtown's Monument Plaza offer a unique blend of shopping, all within walking distance of one another. Located off Highway 105, shoppers will find galleries, home décor, book and specialty stores, as well as restaurants and professional service businesses. Jackson Creek Center, a more recent commercial expansion of the Monument stores that are located east of I-25, offers national "big box" chain store shopping (i.e., Walmart, Home Depot, etc.) mixed with smaller retail and service businesses, as well as office condominiums and restaurants.
The residents of Monument support many different organizations. It is home to various types of churches, such as Presbyterian, Catholic, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, and nondenominational. Monument has several organizations that are unique to the community, and also several nationwide organizations. The local organizations in Monument and their mission statements include:
Tri-Lakes Cares: a community-based non-profit agency serving the Tri-Lakes area in Northern El Paso County, that improves people's lives by providing emergency assistance, self-sufficiency programs and other social services.
Pikes Peak Library District: to inform, empower, inspire, and entertain through service and resources that respect individuals and ideas, foster discovery, and build community.
The Griffith Center for Children: to provide troubled children the environment and opportunities to become healthy, participating and productive members of society.
Boy Scout Troop 514 is in possession of a special American flag better known as the Challenger flag. This flag was on board of the ill-fated last mission of the Space Shuttle Challenger and was recovered undamaged.
Monument is accessed from Interstate 25 at exit 161 and exit 158. State Highway 105 also runs through Monument.
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