GUEST COLUMN:
Help needed to save Rock Ledge
By Ron Wright

       Without a lot of rhetoric, I wish to thank all of you who have given input and support for one of Colorado Springs' most beautiful and historic sites - the crown jewel of Colorado Springs, Rock Ledge Ranch. Here are the facts:
       Rock Ledge Ranch as you and I know it will close after March 31, 2010, unless the Living History Association (LHA - Rock Ledge's volunteer support group) can raise $136,000!
       Thanks to Councilman Sean Paige, the Colorado Springs City Council agreed to spend $38,000 to keep the ranch open for the first quarter of the year. The full amount needed to run the ranch for the whole year is $174,000. So $136,000 (plus the city's $38,000) would allow it to stay in business for the rest of 2010.
       If we fall short in our fundraising, your Rock Ledge Ranch will close and there will be no programs next year. The city would budget one paid person to be at the ranch as a manager/overseer.
       The ranch can remain open, even with shortened programs, if we can raise the money. Without any programs in 2010, the Living History Association will not be able to generate cash flow (from gate admissions) towards the $174,000.
       There have been a lot of comments in the past month that the city's announcement about closing the ranch because of a tight budget is “just a scare tactic. There is money and they will find a way.” Well… This is the way. We, the Living History Association, will have to find the money.
       We can do this if there is enough interest and financial support. We are going after several grants, but success cannot be depended on with the economy the way it is. What we are depending on is you and your concern. This is not any kind of scare tactic. It is a real fact.
       Your donations can be sent directly to the Living History Association, P.O Box 6299, Colorado Springs, CO 80934. Please indicate on your check that it is for the foundation, LHA RLR. Because we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit, your donations are tax deductible under IRS rules. For more information, call 473-8397.

Ron Wright is the president of the Rock Ledge Ranch LHA.