Red ribbon cut for Lakota Canyon Ranch development |

Red ribbon cut for Lakota Canyon Ranch development

NEW CASTLE – A bundled-up crowd gathered in the snow Thursday afternoon to watch New Castle Mayor Bill Wentzel and Faye Faas, the owner of the former Faas Ranch, cut through a bright red ribbon at the entrance of the Lakota Canyon Ranch subdivision. The ribbon-cutting signified the official grand opening of Lakota Canyon Ranch, a 487-acre golf course and housing development located northeast of town and adjacent to Castle Valley Ranch. It received New Castle Town Council approval on Nov. 19. “New Castle is very ready for this project,” said Judy Shaffer, New Castle’s Alpine Bank manager and chairperson of Envision New Castle, a local revitalization group. “New Castle is becoming a destination for many families and retired folks.”Steve Rippy, New Castle town administrator, agreed.”This development provides additional variety and competition in New Castle,” he said.Lakota Canyon Ranch is offering lots, not houses, for sale. Buyers may hire a builder to construct their home, or build it themselves. They must adhere to the development’s “Western Adirondack” design guidelines. Mike Smith, a development associate at Lakota Canyon Realty, said lots range from a quarter acre to two acres, and are offered from $65,000 to $178,000 per lot. Already, Smith said buyers have put 54 of the subdivision’s 90 lots under contract in Filing 1A, and have reserved 14 of the 60 lots recently offered in Filing 1B. He said lot owners will likely start construction beginning in April. The majority of buyers are coming from Carbondale, Aspen, Glenwood Springs and Rifle. He said buyers are a mixture of people: families looking to build their dream homes, retirees and contractors building on speculation. The 18-hole golf course is slated to be finished by summer 2004, and the builders have started work on five holes.The project’s principle developers, Jim Colombo and John Elmore, have roots in Colorado. Colombo has lived in the Roaring Fork Valley for 25 years, and Elmore has been splitting his time between North Carolina and Colorado since 1986. Developing a golf course community was initially Colombo’s idea. He had experience building housing developments near Winter Park and Grand Lake, and built high-end homes in Aspen. “I was looking for a project outside the upper Roaring Fork Valley,” he said, where “political fallout” and high prices prevent the average resident from purchasing property – especially lots next to a high-quality golf course. Colombo said he looked at land from Grand Junction to Vail. He found the Faas Ranch through a friend before the property went on the market. Colombo asked Elmore to look at the property, since Elmore has developed two golf course communities in North Carolina.”I told Jim I’d tell him the property’s pitfalls, but I couldn’t find any,” Elmore said. “Plus, this community really worked with us. I was sold.”The development started out with the name Eagles Ridge Ranch, but the developers decided to change it to avoid confusion with other eagle-based names in the region. Colombo decided on Lakota Canyon Ranch following the death of an Aspen friend, who was part Lakota Indian. Although the development has been two years in the making and involved dozens of meetings with town staff, planning commission members and town council, Mayor Wentzel said he’s never seen developers work so well with town government. “I want to thank John and Jim for their work ethic and commitment, not only to Lakota but to the town of New Castle,” Wentzel said. Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext.

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