By John Bowler
>Project lacks champion
In the previous edition of this column it was reported that an update on the status of the proposed Crooked River Ranch Community Center could not be reported.
The reason given was that the two main players, Nancy Popp, president of the Ranch Community Development Organization and Madras Attorney Paul Sumner could not be reached.
The CDO is the de facto Ranch organization recognized as the community center project coordinator. Sumner represents Mac Investments, which still holds a sizeable plot of acreage south of the fire hall that it would eventually like to develop.
They have proposed 50 acres of that land to the CRR Club and Maintenance Association Board of Directors as a community center site via Frank Wood, CDO founder and board member.
Wood is a developer who has long been regarded as a local liaison to Mac Investments.
Popp and Sumner still had not responded by deadline this week. Neither had two principal Ranch officials, Ranch Club and Maintenance Association President Ben Johnson or Ranch Administrator Judy LaPora responded to follow-up emails for their input on the status of this project. Co-chairman of the project, CDO board member Tom Huspeck, could not be reached by late last week either.
Hope Johnson, another CDO board member and executive director of the Ranch/Terrebonne Chamber said last Thursday via telephone there had been no recent CDO meetings during which the community center would have been discussed. She was unaware of any recent activity concerning the project.
Ranch association Vice President Kit Henderson was contacted last Thursday and generously took time to provide her understanding of where the community center project stands.
She did so with the caveat that what she said was to be regarded as a personal understanding because she was no longer a member of the CDO. As an association board member, she has not been updated recently on where matters stand on this project.
In a nutshell, what Henderson did report was that the project has been in the doldrums since last spring. She said at that time, on the basis of an informal survey of Ranch residents, the board turned down the original proposal by Mac Investments to use 50 acres of land they own south of the fire hall for a community center site.
However she was unaware of any proposed swap for that land for an equal amount of land on the Ranch's north boundary as reported in the aforementioned column. In retrospect that probably was incorrect.
Henderson added that when the association board turned aside the original Mac Investments proposal and asked for an alternative proposal for a site on the lower level of the Ranch closer to the current administration and clubhouse building, Frank Wood withdrew his interest in the community center project altogether.
That left the project without a local champion to see it through with all the work and fundraising it entails.
A Ranch community center would be a boon to Ranchers who regularly engage in exercise, seek entertainment in events and games, use a library and participate in meetings and events held by Ranch organizations.
It probably would appeal to a wide range of potential new residents looking for an active community where they could rent, buy a home or acquire land to build one.
That element does not currently dominate the homeowners association and other Ranch organizations, which would pursue funding and building a community center with the vigor and determination such an auspicious venture requires.
Until that happens, a Ranch community center will remain in the doldrums and the unfulfilled desires of a few Ranchers.