Monday letters: Ascendigo, fireworks
In full support of Ascendigo
As parents of a 12-year-old girl with Down syndrome, we feel compelled to write in support of Ascendigo Ranch. We know that Ascendigo will welcome our daughter to participate in activities even though she does not have a diagnosis of autism.
Families like ours rely on support and guidance from local organizations, like Ascendigo, as this valley is still lacking in resources for families such as ours. Ascendigo has an opportunity to strengthen our community and bring people together even more by building this educational ranch. That is the hope, really, that our daughter and others who may be different can find a place in our community where they can contribute meaningfully, find friends and be happy.
Amid some questionable arguments about the true nature of Ascendigo as an organization, and well-meaning but unwittingly ableist concerns about the participants’ ability to evacuate in the event of wildfire, every single opponent has praised the value of Ascendigo’s program and the importance of providing such services in our valley … just not in their backyard.
At the heart of the opposition to this project is the fear of a loss of the quiet rural feel of Missouri Heights that drew the neighbors to move to this area. If you talk to the ranchers who have lived on Missouri Heights forever, they feel the same way about all of the opponents’ “ranchettes” that have sprung up over the past 30 years.
The cluster design of the buildings leaves the majority of the 126 acres undeveloped, maintaining the rural feel so much better than 21 homes evenly spaced would (we suspect the resident wildlife would strongly agree). We firmly believe that once completed, neighbors will grow to appreciate the way Ascendigo Ranch will actually protect the rural feel of Missouri Heights and feel proud to have a facility in their community that allows people differently abled from them to experience the enrichment and joy of adventures in nature that the majority of us take for granted.
We fully support Ascendigo Ranch and encourage the Board of County Commissioners to approve this resource.
Deborah and Julian Hardaker
Wrong area for camp
I have lived in the valley for 40 years, 16 of those years in Missouri Heights.
I have a daughter with profound autism. She is 30 years old and still lives at home with me and my husband. We both work multiple jobs while being her primary caregiver(s). I know about disabilities and the challenges they bring. I know about the importance of services for our children and adults with disabilities.
Though we have never received services from Ascendigo, I appreciate what they offer and the population they serve. While a summer camp for autistic children and/or adults sounds amazing, it doesn’t belong in Missouri Heights.
Ascendigo’s proposed development is commercial. It doesn’t belong in a neighborhood. It belongs in an area zoned commercial, in an area with plenty of water, quick access to emergency services and especially in an area with roads that can accommodate the amount of traffic that their development will bring. Missouri Heights is not that place.
GarCo, please keep Missouri Heights rural.
Water is the issue
(This letter was originally addressed to the Garfield Board of County Commissioners.)
Ascendigo’s services are valuable, no doubt, and my compliments regarding their organization. Ascendigo represents a needed resource for the less fortunate among us.
White Cloud on Missouri Heights is not the right property for their large facility.
Our community rose to the occasion in 2008 when developers applied to build a large subdivision on Hunt Ranch, 600-some acres nearby on the north side of County Road 102. They painted a pretty picture but, as with Ascendigo, lacked some understanding of the basic facts governing our environment.
This is high desert. No rushing creeks, no large stands of trees or snow runoff. Missouri Heights is unique in that respect.
As our opposition proceeded, smart leaders took their findings to Colorado Water Court to challenge the subdivision based on potential water use. A very restrictive decision was issued by the high court and so limited the developer’s proposed land use — they quit.
I have lived in this immediate area since 1980 and been involved in water both domestic and agricultural. After 40 years of dealing with irrigation water, this summer is the first when no irrigation water is available in my neighborhood. Combine that with hearing about failing wells, and the whole dry picture becomes clear.
There is not enough water to support Ascendigo’s facility. Their original plan for a 2-acre lake says a lot; the proponents don’t have a clue about how scarce the water picture is on Missouri Heights. They own water rights but apparently didn’t get the part about that never being a guarantee water will flow from the tap.
Commissioners, please see here that a precedent has been set by Hunt Ranch opposition over a decade ago, a decade of rising temperatures and increasing drought. Water is scarcer on Missouri Heights now than 2008. No one anticipates this scarcity ending anytime soon. Don’t allow your constituents’ taps to run dry.
Ban fireworks sales
The Garfield County commissioners’ ban on fireworks through July 5, while still allowing the sale of fireworks, looks like a “wink wink” to me.
I would love to hear the logic behind that convoluted ruling. Our fire risk could hardly be higher. The notion that those knuckleheads buying fireworks aren’t going to use them is naive at best, suspicious and dangerous at worst.
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