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Multimodal 'Dig' to start Monday

Researchers will be using ground-penetrating radar to see if any ancient Native American artifacts are present.

Officials are considering abandoning the proposed site of the multimodal transit station which would be located in this parking lot behind the Dougherty County Courthouse.

Officials are considering abandoning the proposed site of the multimodal transit station which would be located in this parking lot behind the Dougherty County Courthouse.

— Researchers will begin scanning the parking lot behind the Dougherty County judicial building Monday to determine what, if any, ancient Native American artifacts will be impacted by the construction of a controversial multi-million dollar transit facility on the site.

As required by federal law, the city has contracted with a company that will use two different types of ground-penetrating radar to explore the site, Assistant City Manager Wes Smith said.

The company will the devices to probe various depths of the parking lot to see if there are any indications of Native American burial sites, villages or artifacts present.

The group will also dig a number of pits on the site to manually dig and see what lies beneath the asphalt service of what is, for now, a parking lot.

"It's really kind of a neat process. They have two different types of radar. One that probes just about two feet below the surface and one that goes a bit deeper to see if there may be something of historic significance," Smith said.

The dig was required after some small artifacts were discovered near the site, which is believed to part of a regional network of small tribal villages that range back for thousands of years.

The multimodal site remains controversial as city commissioners continue to receive political pressure from constituents who aren't thrilled with the concept of building an entirely new facility when the current location of a privately-owned bus station appears to be more conducive to expansion and renovation.

The owners of the current transit station on Oglethorpe Boulevard are suing the city, seeking an injunction to block them from moving forward with construction.

Some city commissioners have said they're reluctant to change the site because they believe it's tied to millions in stimulus funding. The Georgia Department of Transportation, which is also involved in the project, requires proof that the proposed site is infeasible before they'll allow certain funds associated with the project to be transferred to a different site.