Buy the Farm or Renovate the Ranch? Moms Making Colorado History!
“Vacant since 2004, the century-old Fly’n B House in northwest Highlands Ranch may soon have its fate determined. Whether that will involve restoration or demolition remains to be seen.” Fly’n B House Fate in the Air
The story grasped my attention as I skimmed the Highlands Ranch Herald on my walk from our home, around the corner to pick my children up from school. I knew immediately I had do something…AND I knew just who to go to make a difference…the mamas. Not talkn’ fellow colleagues in journalism (them too) – I mean YOU – moms who aren’t afraid to voice their thoughts, share opinions and make astounding impacts on the world around them.
Can we put a price tag on historical preservation?
From the viewpoint of a Colorado native, I see the value surpassing a dollar sign when it comes to historical significance, and being that I’m a bit, well, sappy – I’m just going to say… I have some pretty amazing pioneers to look up to when it comes to this stuff. My grandparents founded and chaired a historical preservation society for years in the community of Salida; my aunt established a museum dedicated to local history in the town of Buena Vista and initiated tourism efforts in a nearby ghost town; another aunt and uncle in Salida bought the family farm (tho they’re alive and well) and completely refurbished my great-grandparents’ farmhouse. Euphoric reminiscence of warm, iced, generously sprinkled sugar cookies comes rushing back with a walk through Great-Grandma Alway’s old kitchen.
“The compelling pitch I’m trying to make is that giving our children both roots and wings is an investment with returns in a legacy of inherent value.”
I could go on with the lists of astounding efforts I have witnessed in small, Colorado communities, and the amazing impact they have had, but the compelling pitch I’m trying to make is that giving our children both roots and wings is an investment with returns in a legacy of inherent value.
What to do with the Fly’n B?
“Options, according to Nolan and Ward, include bringing it up to historical standards, doing enough renovations to make it usable without putting it on par with historical standard requirements, removing the house altogether, and doing exterior renovations now and completing interior renovations at a later date. If the house is renovated, plans for usage could include renting it out for meeting space or gatherings, using it in conjunction with the existing outdoor education programs at the park, and/or creating a walk-through museum experience or other form of historical interpretation on site.” Ryan Boldrey
I understand the concerns, financial and otherwise, surrounding this issue – what I want to hear from you are your thoughts and opinions – I want to know what historical preservation means to you. For me, the Fly’n B Ranch is a stop along the Highline Canal…a place to sit, think, pick apples, skip rocks across the pond, sample almost ripened pears, teach my children patience in fishing, joy in cool water on bare toes and thankfulness that in modern-day convenience we don’t have to potty in the woods! (Yes, there are newly constructed restrooms at the Fly’n B Park!) When investments in the park were made: a large shelter, drinking fountain, picnic tables, BBQ grill, restrooms, electrical outlets, AND fishing pond! I immediately thought how quaint the little ranch house was going to be once it was brought back to life. A finishing touch on this little piece of Colorado history.
With a potential $800,000 price tag to bring the property up to historical standards, I admit this is a project to be critically pondered. Personally, I think there are many solutions and possibilities, and with careful, deliberate planning this house can be saved. I want to preserve this piece of Highlands Ranch history. I want summer BBQ’s beside the pond, apple picking afternoons, a lazy bike rides along the path…and I want for my children to stand on the front porch of that old, white farmhouse, looking out over the orchard, to the span of a majestic front range and dream of what it might have been like 100 years ago – and know that they are part of something…part of the rugged, humbly proud, pioneering culture of the Wild West. ~Even in the comforts of modern day suburbia.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Dr. Suess’ The Once-ler
I’ve been delighted to hear many mom’s stories and thoughts on saving the Fly’n B Ranch house. Apple picking festivals, community fundraising events and many other ideas have been proposed. I would love to hear more and encourage you to get involved – even if you live miles away. This is a hidden gem in our big city, a fantastic and FREE day trip for families and a simply beautiful way to spend a blue sky, Colorado afternoon.
Weigh In – Your Opinion Counts!
A public open house is scheduled from 3-8 p.m. March 6 at the district building, 62 W. Plaza Drive in Highlands Ranch. For those who cannot attend, they can also leave comment by contacting Ward email@example.com or 720-240-5950.
Thanks to the Highlands Ranch Historical Society and Shea Homes for much of this historical information. To learn more about the history of our community, please call the Highlands Ranch Historical Society at 303-471-5611, or for more information about upcoming programs, projects and meetings.