LONE TREE, Colo. — Lone Tree is one of the fastest growing cities in the state and the city will soon have a new home for Colorado’s overlooked.
Tall Tales Ranch is a 4-acre plot of land that will provide 32 homes and employment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities(IDD). The group currently has a mobile coffee shop, with 19 employees. The coffee trailer will continue, but the ranch will also have a brick-and-mortar coffee shop year-round.
Program Director Sally McCance says it’s the ideal location, sitting right next to new apartments and the Ridgegate light rail station.
“Transportation is one of the biggest barriers and being in this location gives us access to Lone Tree, access to greater Denver and access to more opportunity,” says McCance. The Bureau of Labor says only 21 percent of people with IDD are employed, often facing transportation and communication barriers.
A special education teacher, McCance started working with Tall Tales in 2019. Not long after, she found out she was pregnant with her third child, a daughter, Louisa. Eleven weeks into her pregnancy, McCance found out that Louisa had Down syndrome.
“That was kind of a surprise,” says McCance. Although prepared for Louisa’s diagnosis, McCance says it comes with challenges. Now, she has a goal, to help in creating communities where people like Louisa can thrive.
“She's vibrant and I want her to be in a place that's equally as vibrant,” says McCance. “That’s really the vision of Tall Tales, it's a community that embraces that we have differences and those differences are awesome just as they are.”
The crux of Tall Tales' plan is workforce development. The community will be able to house 32 people, but the ranch and coffee shop can employ many more. As their employees gain experience and communication skills, the light rail can take them to job interviews throughout the area.
“The access to transportation is a bridge to so many other life-enriching opportunities,” says McCance.
Tall Tales currently plans to break ground on the ranch in the summer of 2024. McCance says they also plan to continue their coffee trailer service.
You can find more details about Tall Tales here.