Ascendigo Autism Services has been a stalwart part of our mid-valley community for decades — providing much-needed nurture for those on the autism spectrum and providing support for families that cannot address all of the behavioral and mental health needs of their dependent children. Ascendigo also employs dozens of skilled caregivers, and thereby contributes meaningfully to our community and economy.
Ascendigo has identified an optimal property — 126 acres in Missouri Heights that it proposes for a ranch that will expand care and service to children on the autism spectrum. Sadly, facts are being misrepresented. So here are the facts:
• Ascendigo is a non-governmental organization that provides nationally recognized health and education services to people with differential learning.
• The property is already zoned for “educational purposes,” and to this end the ranch will construct six buildings, including a barn, and a stable and riding ring that are the quintessence of our valley’s rural landscape.
• Ascendigo will also construct buildings where they will teach, nurture and support campers, house counselors and provide administration. This is a far cry from the 20-plus high-end homes that will otherwise be built under the approved planned development. The intense pressure on resources, notably water, wildlife habitat, and transport will be far greater under a housing development.
Many homeowners in Garfield County, where the ranch will be located, embrace the project because it will preserve open space, view sheds, and the rural way of life that attracted them to the Heights, and us to the valley.
Advent of the Ascendigo Ranch on Missouri Heights represents an optimal land use that will better protect the social, environmental and economic values that we all want to safeguard in the Roaring Fork Valley. Garfield County commissioners are implored to protect against suburbanization, wanton sprawl and expansive residential home-building by welcoming Ascendigo Ranch.
Bill and Betina Infante
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