‘Save Rock Ledge’ campaign begins

       A private fundraising campaign is under way to save the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site.

Old-fashioned Santa with kids at Rock Ledge's Holiday Evening Dec. 12.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Donations were requested in a mailing that went out last week from Ron Wright, president of the ranch's Living History Association (LHA), to the 1,200 addresses on the LHA mailing list.
       In addition, he said, when asked about the letter, the LHA welcomes help from anyone who cares about the ranch. He followed that up with a full-page LHA ad reprinting the letter in this issue of the Westside Pioneer.
       Wright's letter notes the “harsh realities” of having to raise “at least $136,000 as soon as possible to maintain the level of programming and service of past years.”
       Because of severe city budget shortfalls, the city-owned ranch is otherwise scheduled for closure in April.
       The LHA hope - which is probably overly optimistic, Wright admitted - is that at least 1,000 people will send in $136 each, thus covering the needed amount. He emphasized that the LHA will not turn down smaller contributions. One number suggested in the fundraising letter is $34, which would pay for a quarter of the year.
       “We're giving people the opportunity to give a small amount and still make a donation,” Wright said. “If people can't afford it, we know it's Christmas time, but if they want to, they can take it off taxes for this year.”
       To process donations and avoid any city involvement, the LHA has set up a non-profit foundation, governed by the LHA officers, and any money given will be tax- deductible, he clarified.
       Simultaneously, grants and other assistance are being applied for, “but those can take months or even years for response and payment,” Wright's letter points out.

Scenes from the Dec. 12 Holiday Evening at Rock Ledge Ranch... TOP: Jamie Bell, a junior docent who was giving a tour of the Orchard House, is framed by a wreath in a photo through the window. RIGHT: Bundled up against the evening chill, ranch visitors try making tallow candles outside the Galloway Cabin.
Westside Pioneer photos

       Encouragement came from the “Holiday Evening” event Dec. 13. The total paid attendance of 1,050 people was “triple what we usually get” for the event - probably inspired in part by the fact that the historically styled Christmas event could wind up being the last one ever at Rock Ledge, Wright said. Several attendees verbalized support for the ranch, he said, although he also heard a report about one person who declined an offer to join the LHA “because it's never going to open again.”

Westside Pioneer article