Upscale community approved to move in

By Ryn Gargulinski: QCS

A possible economic boon is coming to Quay County in the form of a scenic golf course, marina, equestrian club and lakefront homes.

Officially known as Ute Lake Ranch, this multi-million dollar complex will be built on the outskirts of Tucumcari, on the south side of Ute Lake, seven miles north of Interstate 40. It was planned in agreement with the communities of Tucumcari, Grady, San Jon, Logan and Quay County.

With the cogs for the project in motion as far back as October 2004, after months of meetings, paperwork, regulation compliance and a pre-approval meeting back in July, county commissioners met last week with project engineers, planners and officials to grant final approval.

Designed as an upscale second-home and retirement community, Ute Lake Ranch official Barry Freedman, a developer from Colorado who bought the 25,000 acres in 1997, said the complex will be one fat net gain for the county.

“(Ute Lake Ranch will) target mostly baby boomers and retirement people. These people in general provide income in and don’t take it out,” he said.

In addition to the community residents’ lack of need for community-funded social services, Freedman said another benefit of Ute Lake Ranch would be to help with the tax goals of the county.

“Most importantly,” Freedman said, “one of our goals is to be a good steward of the lake, to take care of the water quality.

“We made every effort with our design and construction to help preserve the water quality.” He said the golf course will actually help because the landscape design will serve to prevent erosion.

All other county, state and EPA regulations and compliance have
also been met, Freedman said.

Quay County Manager Terry Turner, who pointed out the entire complex is being funded by Ute Lake Ranch, has been gung-ho for the complex for months.

“It’s a bargain for us (local entities),” he said in the July meeting. “We’re not out a nickel.”

Although the championship golf course, 733 lots of patio homes, horse club and economic benefits may sound like a win-only situation, Jason Garside on Phelps Engineering Services, Inc., did mention a downside.

“We will be disturbing a lot during construction,” Garside said, adding all requirements and rules set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency and the state will be followed.

He also said foliage and landscape that is destined to be disturbed during construction will be preserved and not destroyed.

The first phase of construction, residential and open space lots, has already begun and is expected to be finished by 2008.

Other construction will be implemented in seven different phases, some overlapping and each lasting from four to 10 years.

Final completion of the project is expected in 2026, and the Ute Lake Ranch Web site says 85 percent of the residential lots are already sold.

Ute Lake Ranch by the numbers

13 number of miles in the length of Ute Lake
20 number of years expected until the construction is complete
26 number of navigable miles of the ranch and the lake
100 number of miles away from the nearest international airport
733 number of patio homes expected to be built
2,250 number of square feet of the largest model of the three types of homes