Dear Editor:

For more than a decade a core group of Bellvue residents and supporters have worked to preserve Pleasant Valley. With the recent Barn at Sunny Side proposal, we find our community meetings full of faces old and new, and the mission of the Bellvue Historic Foundation to document and preserve the pristine, historic character of Pleasant Valley more urgent than ever.

By Pleasant Valley, we mean the broad valley bottom visible from Larimer County’s Scenic Overlook Park at the top of Bingham Hill Road. Pleasant Valley extends from Goat Hill/Bellvue Dome west to the burned edge of the low foothills, and from the north dam of Horsetooth Reservoir to the base of the foothills north of Ted’s Place, near the mouth of Poudre Canyon.

This beautiful view encompasses the area of first European settlement in Northern Colorado, some of Colorado’s earliest water history (ditches, canals, flumes, pipelines), the unincorporated town of Bellvue, and the Bingham Farm, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and still operates as a working hay farm.

The view across Pleasant Valley includes historic fish hatcheries, railroad grades and structures which brought the stone used to build downtown Fort Collins, and the National Historic Register-listed Flowers’ House and State Historic Register-listed Bellvue Grange, once the home and business of pioneer Jacob Flowers. Flowers created “Bellevue” as his personal vision of paradise back in 1873 when he built the store, house and town to serve the railroad and quarry workers who labored in what is now the bottom of Horsetooth Reservoir. From the Scenic Overlook, you see an intact, rural landscape that is among the last remaining in Northern Colorado.

This view is substantially as it has been for decades. It alone is worthy of preservation and conservation at the highest level possible.

Summarizing a second-generation rancher/farmer at our June 4 gathering: Preservation of agricultural traditions and practices is key to our way of life here. Once the first farm or ranch falls, it can produce a domino effect, making life increasingly difficult for farmers, who make Pleasant Valley so special. This is an intact, rural area. Our infrastructure is fragile.

Forever, we want you to come over the top of Bingham Hill and lose your breath at the beauty of the landscape laid out before you.

There are scars now from fires and floods, but none yet from turn lanes, parking lots and housing subdivisions.

Lisa Maser and the membership of the Bellvue Historic Foundation

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