“On Monday, May 22, Ascendigo Autism Services became the proud owner of 695 Buggy Circle,” began a recent press release from the organization.
Ascendigo is a nonprofit that serves many people living with autism in the region. While it started as a summer sports camp in 2004, today it operates year-round providing opportunities and regular support to its clients, young and old.
“Our goal is to integrate people with autism into community life, whether through outdoor recreation, assisting in basic life skills, finding compatible employment in friendly companies or simply going out with friends to restaurants, museums or concerts,” the press release continued.
This is the first time Ascendigo will own the property it operates from. It purchased the space on Buggy Circle for $3.15 million.
“Since the organization was founded … all programs and operations have occurred at rented and leased spaces throughout the Roaring Fork Valley,” the press release stated. “Owning this commercial property will allow the organization to consolidate operations to better serve the autism community and to realize enormous operational efficiencies.”
The building, which is pretty barebones at this point, will require build-out and customization to meet Ascenidgo’s needs. It will include a “living lab” for job training and life skills guidance for adults, clinical spaces for children and adults receiving behavioral therapy, gathering spaces for Life Enrichment clients, recreational therapy amenities (including a climbing wall) and more.
So, the organization won’t be moving in right away. But, the architectural designs and other work will begin immediately in order to secure the necessary building permits. According to Julie Kaufman, Ascendigo’s chief development officer, they anticipate moving in within the next 12 months.
Readers may recall Ascendigo’s proposal for a piece of ranchland on Missouri Heights which was ultimately denied by the Garfield Board of County Commissioners after contentious deliberation on the board and within the community.
The organization has not ditched its efforts to eventually acquire ranchland where it can provide even more recreational therapy opportunities and a summer camp program. However, some of the donor funds earmarked for the ranchland prospect were used to purchase the building on Buggy Circle.
“The search for a single home to host all of Ascendigo’s many programs and needs has proven to be enormously difficult,” Kaufman told The Sopris Sun. “We understand that we may need to operate these programs across multiple properties, and owning our own building in Carbondale is a very important first step in this process.”
Ascendigo serves between 180 and 200 individuals within its direct-service programs each year. “Through the Ascendigo Academy, we also train community members, educators, law enforcement and caregivers in autism support,” Kaufman added. “Through these trainings and resources offered to the community, we touch about 400 people.”
Considering it’s a nonprofit, Ascendigo is launching a capital campaign to help pay for the upgrades to the new property, and to replenish the funds intended to buy ranch property one day. Visit www.ascendigo.org to donate, or email Kaufman at Jkaufman@ascendigo.org to find out how else to support the project.
”We are looking toward a very bright future with the purchase of 695 Buggy Circle in Carbondale,” said Dan Richardson, Ascendigo’s chief executive officer. “This two-story commercial property is located in an ideal location, walking distance to our vibrant downtown and the Rio Grande Trail. This building is sure to be a showcase for inclusion, sensory support, and universal design. Ascendigo is proud to show the world what a true inclusionary space can be.”