Happy ending for house at White Acres

       About a year and a half ago, Clint Tafoya was not sure where he would be living in the near future. For eight years, the youth pastor for an eastside church had been the live-in caretaker of the roughly 45-acre White Acres property, happily renting its house at 1680 Gold Camp Road and using its scenic terrain for teen retreats. But in the spring of 2008 plans were announced for a subdivision which would include the house's demolition.

Clint and Alethea Tafoya stand outside the former White Acres caretaker house that's now theirs... but only after months of watching political wrangling over a development that would have demolished it.
Westside Pioneer photo

       So who says there aren't happy endings anymore? Fast forward to the present, and we not only find White Acres being preserved as city open space, but a companion arrangement splitting off 1680 and selling it to Tafoya. But wait, there's more. In February, he got married. So he is now able to stay in the place he likes so well and share it with his wife Alethea (pronounced A-LEE-tha). He can even bring teens from his church up to White Acres again - something he had to stop doing while the subdivision plan was before the city.
       “I didn't know what would happen,” Clint grinned in a recent interview, recalling the uncertain interim period and the multi-month efforts to “save White Acres” involving his neighbors and scores of other volunteer advocates. “I just trusted in the Lord and continued to pray. It's kind of surreal now.”
       It hasn't been quite as idyllic for Alethea. A Flight for Life nurse, she was more used to an urban setting, with shopping nearby. Then, to top it off, some wandering deer visited the White Acres house recently and chowed down on all the flowers she'd planted outside. However, the location “is growing on me,” she said. “It's a blessing being up here. It's very calm.”
       Tafoya's longstanding desire to buy the house actually helped the deal come about. The city didn't see the building's location by the street intersection as needed for the open space, and the previous property owners - Bethany Baptist Church and the Infinity Land Corp. - welcomed the chance to sell a roughly 2.5-acre piece of it for $285,000. (The city is buying the open space, minus a road easement, for about $1 million over a four year span.)
       The closing on 1680 Gold Camp was Sept. 1. Tafoya thanked Paul Howard of Infinity for helping put the details together, which included the county rezoning it to RR-2.5 (rural residential).
       In all, “everyone came through on their commitments to White Acres,” Tafoya said. The most recent of these was the successful $75,000 fundraising campaign - in which he and others helped the Friends of Red Rock Canyon - that will pay three-quarters of the city's $100,000 first-year payment for the open space.
       Now that he and Alethea own their parcel, they haven't made any big plans yet for improvements. But as a renter, Clint was aware of some deferred maintenance over the years, and next spring he expects to start on some upgrades, including a “fresh coat of paint,” he said.
       The house has a tie with history. It was built in the mid-'50s by Chloe and Pearl White (after whom the property was named). The family of Mr. and Mrs. White donated the acreage to Bethany Baptist in the 1960s. Merrilyn Caduff, related to the Whites, played there as a child and still drives up to walk her dog there. “It means a lot to her,” Clint Tafoya said.
       He ought to know.

Westside Pioneer article