Tall Tales Ranch, a step closer to reality
By Patte Smith; artistic renderings courtesy of Tall Tales Ranch
A big milestone has been reached by Tall Tales Ranch, a nonprofit organization that was founded by Susan and Pat Mooney six years ago. The City of Lone Tree approved the Tall Tales Ranch Site Improvement Plan in July. The Mooneys’ vision to build a neurodiverse and inclusive community for people with intellectual and developmental traits such as autism and Down syndrome began when their son, Ross, survived a life-threatening illness that left him with a brain injury and permanent disability.
Working hand-in-hand with friends, volunteers and many others throughout the community, the Mooneys blazed the trail for the reality of Tall Tales Ranch.
In 2016, the Schweiger Ranch Foundation donated a 4-acre parcel (100-year land lease, in perpetuity) on the historic ranch property for a community that will have residential and mixed-use buildings, as well as two sets of paired cottages for residents and a central community building.
The community building is key to the project so residents and families can gather together to socialize and share in activities. Outdoor endeavors are a large part of Tall Tales Ranch where residents will learn gardening and how to care for an orchard. Opportunities for vocational training, life skills classes, music, fellowship and yoga, to name a few, will be offered in a community event barn. The barn will also be available for the public to rent for weddings, meetings and conferences.
“We have been humbled and encouraged by the outpouring of support from the City of Lone Tree,” noted Susan, the executive director and co-founder of Tall Tales Ranch. “The city recognizes the importance and viability of welcoming neurodiversity to their innovative community design. They appreciate that Tall Tales Ranch is rooted in possibility and focused on providing opportunities to many individuals.”
The statement, “Inclusion and diversity makes a community whole,” is the tenet of Tall Tales Ranch. The organization recognizes and respects the rights of people with neurological differences to thrive and be valued for their unique ability to contribute to their community.
For more information and to read the Mooney family’s story and learn about the numerous individuals and families who have helped this dream become a reality, visit www.talltalesranch.org.