Red Rock Canyon Open Space has...
Happy neighbors

       “I loved the land. I wanted to live there.”
       That was the starting point four years ago for Manitou Springs resident Kathryn (Katie) Lucas, who eventually became part of the ownership of the Red Rock Canyon Estates development - 18 lots on 18 acres - with fellow Manitou residents Owen Roberts and Mike Harding.
       The project went through some difficult times, including a tough review process with the City of Manitou Springs and unexpected costs (including the need to use dynamite) in preparing the site.
       But Lucas and partners have received one boon they had no way of anticipating in 2002. A proposed subdivision on the neighboring property to the east, a roughly 800-acre parcel, never got built. In late 2003, Colorado Springs bought it. It's now Red Rock Canyon Open Space.
       This doesn't hurt when it comes to marketing - the owners' original project name was “Crystal Hills East” - but Lucas said the change didn't alter their respect for the property. Although considerable excavation was needed, “we tried to put in the least lots we could and still make it economically feasible,” she said. And, when the restorative xeriscaped landscaping - planted this spring after the lots were scraped in - starts growing, that should provide further evidence of the owners' concern, they believe. Even as it is, with some of the land still showing the marks of the heavy equipment that shaped it, “some people think we're part of the park,” Roberts observed.
       If people want more proof of caring, they could pay attention to who buys the lots and lives there. Lucas and Roberts both plan to be among them, they said.
       In terms of topography, the site does not appear to be part of Manitou Springs. The last undeveloped piece of developer Scotty Kovalik's Crystal Hills property, it is located at the base of the slope east of Crystal Hills and south of a separate subdivision that went in some years ago on unincorporated land.
       The only access is off Ridge Road from Highway 24 - also used for Red Rock Canyon and the older subdivision. To get there, people need to follow Ridge Road/High Street past the open space entrance and around to the intersection with Red Canon Place, where a sandstone-styled entrance sign is located. A private road leads from there past the lots, which vary in size from one-half to 2 acres each.
       Lot prices range from $175,000 to $335,000 each. People can customize their own homes, although earth colors are encouraged in home construction. Lucas said the owners are marketing to “downsizers and empty-nesters; it will have a 'retreat' kind of feel.”
       For more information, call 685-0401 or go to the website:

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