Helping to grow our hometown talent

Independence, a residential conservation community located near Elizabeth, Colorado, recently hosted a filming project with a group of local, Elizabeth High School students. Accompanied by EHS film teacher, Mikayla Hirsch, and Internship coordinator, Leanne Cook, students were invited to spend a day learning about a variety of career opportunities in trade industries such as land development, contracting and construction management, as well as water management, storm drain management and road construction.

The field trip was funded by the Homegrown Talent Initiative grant, a program aimed at helping students in Elbert County understand the breadth of career opportunities available to them, beyond the more traditional fields they’re exposed to with typical high school curriculums. The goal of the program is to empower local students to pair their in-classroom learning with potential career paths they can pursue post-graduation.

The crew from Elizabeth High School’s EZTV came along to capture video footage throughout the day and to film question-and-answer sessions with key stakeholders. These included conversations between students and Tim Craft, founder of Craft Companies and developer of Independence, providing an in-depth look behind the scenes at what a career in development looks like and how to become a developer.

They also had the chance to speak with Richmond American Homes Project Manager, Tom Shumway, who provided the students with an overview of the construction process from the homebuilder perspective.

The day concluded with on-camera interviews featuring two Independence residents and a representative from Scott Contracting. The students also toured Independence’s state-of-the-art water reclamation and sanitation facility which contributes to the conservation efforts by purifying water for reuse and features the highest level of water recycling in the state.

The footage the student film crew captured will be edited into an educational video to share with fellow students to shed light on the many career options in the trade industry available to these young adults.

Elbert County resident, David Eddy, who helped secure the Hometown Talent Initiative grant, said they hope to utilize future funds to offer new programs for local students including internships, concurrent enrollment and certificate programs the students can use once they’ve completed high school.

Tim Craft summed the day up well by saying, “All of us at Independence enjoyed the chance to connect with local students and give them a better understanding of the many fulfilling career paths available to them post high school—specifically the trades that allowed us to bring our community to life.”

Now more than ever, we can all appreciate the importance of getting out of the house. A chance to move, to breathe, to explore, and connect with people outside our own home. How about those friendly neighbors living right down the street in our conservation community?

At Independence, we think the best way to make these new connections is right on your own front porch. Spending time here on a rocking chair or sitting on the front step allows passersby to walk up for a quick chat without coming inside your house. They’re also a great place to spend time with friends and neighbors while maintaining a safe distance with circulated air—perfect for having folks over for a drink or a casual, outdoors get together. And best of all, you don’t have to clean up the house afterwards.

Our Front Porch Philosophy

Because there’s no better, more comfortable and welcoming place to spend quality time, we’ve designed spacious areas to gather at the front of every Independence home to encourage neighborly interaction and add a gracious transition from outside to inside and shelter from inclement weather.

All front porches throughout the Independence Community are oversized to give you plenty of space to spread out and are designed to be visible from the street, so you can keep an eye on your kiddos playing in the yard and say hello to neighbors walking by. We’ve also built our streets with additional curves and narrower widths to slow cars down and to create a safer place for neighbors and kids to mingle outside their homes. Together, these considerations help create active, social front yard gathering places throughout the neighborhood so you can safely enjoy the community and fresh air beyond your four walls.

Ideas For Your Porch

To inspire you to embrace the front porch space you’ll find here at Independence, here are some suggestions for how to utilize this incredible amenity, right beyond your front door:

1. Start a small garden with fresh flowers, vegetables and herbs.
2. Watch a thunderstorm roll over the front range.
3. Enjoy a glass of homemade lemonade.
4. Read a nighttime story to the kids.
5. Host a book club gathering.
6. Set up a telescope and star gaze.
7. Build a wind chime to hang from the ceiling.
8. Enjoy a family meal outside.
9. Install a porch swing, of course!
10. Take a nap, maybe on that new porch swing.
11. Sit on the front step and connect with your neighbors!

To learn more about our brand-new conservation community, sign up for the latest email updates here.

What makes Independence such a unique and desirable place to live is the lifestyle it offers each and every family who call it home. Each of the stunning single-family homes are built with 21st century innovations and small-town values, available in seven different floorplans in four varying styles, including Farmhouse Fresh, Prairie Pure, Mountain Modern and Classic Contemporary. Here, cutting-edge technology, progressive community amenities, and stunning construction (by the likes of Richmond American Homes and Lennar Home Builders) go hand in hand with wide-open vistas, room to roam, and preserved open space corridors stretching for miles in all directions.

It’s a community where kids have plenty of room to play until the dinner bell rings. Neighbors spend afternoons on their front porches and find value in gathering together as a community. Working from home is a breeze, thanks to community-wide high-speed WiFi. Each residence is built smart-home ready and has a pocket park within 1,000 feet. Smart streetlights and water conservation efforts create a more efficient, sustainable footprint to benefit everyone within the community.

As our progress continues to pick up, we’re excited to announce our first two homebuilders and that homes are NOW available for sale!

Richmond American Homes
Homes for sale now! Model home tours in August

Lennar Home Builders
Model Home tours and homes for sale in October

We invite you to sign up for our Independence Community updates via email and to contact us with any questions you may have about our brand new, one of a kind residential community!

During this difficult time, our hearts here at Independence Homes go out to our friends and neighbors as we all rally together to adjust to this new normal and get through it safely. Despite the setbacks we are all experiencing, at Independence we remain positive, making great progress as we bring this incredible new community to life and look ahead to the future. We are excited to share that we’ve finalized installation of our High-Speed WiFi and paved the roads throughout the community.

While we are optimistic about the future, we also view this temporary pause as an opportunity to reflect on the things we appreciate most—and sometimes take for granted. Gathering together with family around a delicious meal. Joining with neighbors in our backyards for an afternoon BBQ. Getting out to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine on a bike ride or hike with family by our side.

These are the important moments we’ve built the Independence Homes community around, and the ones that will make it thrive. Like our high-speed WiFi, designed to keep us connected even in times like these when we can’t be physically close to one another. Not to mention, entertained—super fast streaming of Disney+, anyone?

We share these updates with you, along with our excitement for the future of our thoughtfully planned community and all those who will call it home. Stay tuned for more news and updates from us and please, be well. 

The 1,000+ acre swath of western prairie upon which Independence Homes sits is a truly unique property. Set high above rolling hills, the conservation community overlooks not only the Black Forest to the east but offers striking views to both Pikes and Longs Peaks and the entirety of the Front Range. The visibility stretches so far in all directions, you can actually see storms rolling in from as far north as Fort Collins.

Because so much of the appeal of living here is about embracing the spirit of the west, we felt it was critical to do everything we could to preserve as much of the property’s open space and overlooks as possible. As we began planning the layouts of each neighborhood, we took great care to not only maximize the inspiration found gazing outward from each home, but to preserve as much of the original topography as possible. It’s just another one of the ways we’re working to ensure that what drew us here in the first place remains for generations to come.

We started with the homesites themselves, clustering them to preserve more contiguous open space that will serve as an extension of each home’s backyard. This allows neighbors to feel connected to each other while still enjoying the 420 acres of prairie around them—plenty of room for miles of biking, jogging and hiking trails. Part of the plan mandates that no home will be built within a 200-foot perimeter of major roads or neighboring communities, creating large buffer areas and a considerable band of open space surrounding the entire development for maximum privacy, peace and quiet.  

Lastly, we made the deliberate decision not to develop any homes in the low-lying areas of the property, and mapped out future neighborhoods atop rolling hills in order to preserve the greater viewing corridor, to the benefit of all who call Independence home.

The plan laid out through our home clustering doesn’t just benefit our future residents, though. Our larger conservation philosophy takes to heart the well-being and prosperity of the native species who already live here, too. This is why large sections of the property have been preserved for migration patterns and native herds to graze alongside the neighborhoods within the community, minimizing disruption to native grasslands and wildlife. Our strategic neighborhood layouts also help to reduce the community’s overall water consumption and leaves many natural areas, wetlands, wildlife corridors and animal bedding areas undisturbed. So we can all live harmoniously here with one another.

For more information on our conservation community, please reach out to us directly or explore our website to learn more about our unique residential and community amenities, innovative technology and water reclamation programs, and to see some of the stunning designs of our new homes.

With every step of planning the Independence Homes community, we’ve focused on preserving what came before, conserving valuable resources, and leaving a smaller footprint so that all our residents can enjoy more, while using less. We’re configuring new homes on acres of open space while maintaining and restoring as much of the original property as possible in order to create a true conservation community that honors the rich history of the land. While this is a challenging task, we continue to draw inspiration from what came before to guide our path forward.

Here’s what we know about the land’s past.

The 1,000 acres that now makes up our Independence Homes community first belonged to the Bentley family, originally from the Dakotas and long before they were divided into north and south states. Sometime around 1870, the family made the long journey to Colorado to homestead the land, thanks to the recent passing of the federal Homestead Act of 1862 which granted a portion of public land (usually 160 acres) to any US citizen willing to settle on and farm the land for at least five years. In a way, the Bentleys came in search of their own kind of independence—the freedom to start a new life for themselves here in Colorado. And to a large degree, this is what influenced the name we chose for this special new community.

Independence Homes in Elizabeth, CO

How their legacy began.

It started with a simple two-room cabin the family built themselves, by hand, from timber salvaged from the property. Once complete, they settled into their new Western life ranching cattle and farming wheat. They also ran a metal shop on the property, as well as Elbert County’s first telegraph station. In the early 1900s, the family upgraded their accommodations, ordering a Queen Ann Victorian-style kit home from Radford and Harris Brothers made from locally sourced lumber The house was shipped in parts to the local train station in Elizabeth, which required the Bentleys to make the 16-mile round-trip nearly 100 times (yes, you read that right) with a team of horses, picking up all they could carry home and then returning for another haul.

With no power tools available back then, the kit home, just like the original cabin, was constructed by hand. The family lived in this same house from about 1908 until the early 1960s, making a living off of —and living in harmony with—the land they called home for over a century.

Our role in the Bentley’s story.

When Craft Companies acquired the property, both of the historic homes were still standing, however in dilapidated condition. We set out to restore both to as close to their original condition as possible. To do this, we’ve partnered with local Elbert County workers who are restoring it by hand, piece-by-piece, using hand spades to dig out the foundation and rebuild it one nail at a time. To ensure the integrity of the restoration, we’re using historical oils and other antiquated materials to repair both the interior and exterior, as opposed to modern day chippers, sprayers and the like.

To further ensure the authenticity of our preservation efforts, we’re going to great lengths to replicate the specific, original detailing of the original buildings. For example, we brought in a color consultant specializing in period home restoration to select appropriate paint colors for the restoration of both the cabin and the kit home. We’re adhering to the highest levels of craftsmanship as well, repurposing wood found on the property to replace missing pieces of siding or railing—rather than purchasing new, inauthentic materials.

In order to honor the history of the land with our new construction, we’re drawing inspiration from both the color palette and architectural style of the Bentley’s historic homes to create our updated, modern farmhouse style for the houses that will make up our Independence Homes community.

Another notable influence carried over from the past is the kit home’s oversized front porch, which influenced the design guidelines for expansive front porches on all new homes at Independence—far larger than porches a buyer might find anywhere else in Colorado. We believe that by incorporating these inviting, welcoming outdoor spaces for people to gather, residents will be drawn to the front of their homes—creating a more vibrant, energetic community where kids can play together in the yard and neighbors can have more interaction with one another. The large porches also help to activate the front elevations of each home, creating a dramatically different feeling in Independence Homes than you’ll find in other Colorado residential communities.

A symbol of the past, reimagined for the future.

In addition to restoring the original homestead outpost, we’re investing considerable efforts and resources to repurpose the other historic buildings on the property, including the old farmhouse, barn and silo, which will all become part of a new, central community space called Homestead Park. A tribute to the early Bentley ranch, the original buildings are being transformed into innovative and useful amenities that will bring neighbors and families together to play, relax and reconnect, creating a truly unified new community designed to thrive long into the future.

Independence Homes historic community

Independence Homes is a community like no other in Colorado, or perhaps the country. What sets it apart more than anything is our commitment to preserving open space, letting the existing topography inform the design of each neighborhood instead of disrupting it to fit our plan. This allows us to live in harmony with the land, native plants and wildlife—as well as each other.

As our cities become more and more crowded, the value of having this kind of space to spread out, to breathe, to escape the chaos of life and to retreat to a place that allows people to connect with what really matters is of the utmost importance to today’s homebuyers. Looking out your back window to the mountain ranges towering to the west reinforces a sense of place and belonging to it. Feeling safe to let your children explore endless miles of biking and walking paths, to catch frogs by the pond, to walk your dog in the morning and breath in fresh, Rocky Mountain air—these are valuable commodities quickly becoming rarer in today’s evolving, populated world. At Independence Homes, not only are small-town values and a simpler way of life attainable, they are guaranteed for the future as we preserve this land in perpetuity for those lucky enough to call it home.

Independence Homes in Colorado

Here we are fostering a new spirit of the West, where the stories we write for ourselves are told over fire pits and star gazing. Stories that contribute to a legacy redefining what it means to grow up on the Colorado landscape. Instead of squeezing homes onto tiny lots mapped out perfectly on a city grid, backyards here abut open space with neighborhood parks a quick stroll away along a vast interconnected trail system that leads to spacious common areas, grassy lawns, ponds, and overlooks with un-obstructed views of the entire Front Range, from south to north. Living here makes for a richer way of life, where you come to define yourself as much by who you are as what you surround yourself with on a daily basis.

This approach to preservation revolves around a philosophy we call a “New Heritage.” It is a belief that is both forward thinking and nostalgic. Delivering on our buyers’ desire to start new traditions they can share and pass on while creating a sense of communal belonging that transcends time. Because truly loving where you live is about more than what’s inside your four walls, but the satisfaction of being good stewards of a lifestyle and the landscape that fosters it. At Independence Homes, we are creating a legacy for our community and all the residents who will live here.A new heritage defined by connection. To the land. To one another. And to a community built upon guiding principles and the foresight to ensure it will thrive not just today, but far into the future.

Independence Homes is a new Colorado community outside of metro Denver, with homes for sale in 2020. Centrally located near Parker, Elizabeth, Castle Rock, and DTC (Denver Tech Center), with convenient access to DIA, Independence is one of the most convenient new southeast Denver neighborhoods featuring new construction homes from the low $400s. Join our mailing list to be the first to hear updates about this exciting, new housing community.

Independence is a community designed for how we live now and well into the future. From the outset, we deliberately incorporated the kinds of technology, amenities, and features that make life easier, more seamless, convenient and enriching for everyone who calls Independence home. Here’s a look into the thought process behind some of the intentional components that define our Conservation Community.

A forward-thinking community that knows what should never change.

What originally drew us to this specific location was the topography of the land. The natural layout of the rolling hills and prairies that have always been here is something we wanted to ensure stays this way. The appeal to modern families is the chance to escape the hustle and bustle of city life for more room to spread out and connect with nature. A place where walking your dog is an adventure, depending on the different paths you choose; the stunning landscape inspires your morning jogs; and your kids can hop on their bikes and ride miles of trails in every direction, safely and freely. The acres of preserved open space will remain this way in perpetuity. Because families need space to spread out, to explore the outdoors, and to own more than just what’s included within their four walls.

Building a 21st century community requires a deep appreciation for what should remain timeless.

Timeless, small town values thrive here, where life revolves around the time you have to spend with your family, friends and neighbors. Where you’re just far enough away from the city to escape the demands of everyday life and focus on what really matters. In celebrating this simpler way of life, we had the opportunity to weave in cutting-edge enhancements that make for even more seamless livability, allowing you to maximize the time you have to spend with your family. Each residence will exude its own classic charm in a variety of design styles, all while being able to accommodate the latest energy-saving appliances, solar panels, high-speed internet wiring, water recycling, smart street lighting and more. By bringing together these modern conveniences, you can embrace the comforts of home while lowering your family’s footprint through energy efficiency and resource management, which also lowers the overall cost of

miles of trails linking this sprawling community

A community designed to grow together.

The best neighborhood BBQs are ones that serve food grown right in your own backyard. At our community garden, residents can reserve raised beds for planting their own produce. It’s a chance to instill in your children what it takes to grow the food we eat. To take pride in bringing something better to the table. And, well, food you grow yourself just tastes better.

A community water-recycling program? Go ahead, let the kids play in the sprinklers.

Independence is proud to introduce the highest level of water recycling in the state of Colorado. Our state-of-the-art and first-of-its-kind water conservation program will help conserve nearly 50% of all the water used throughout the entire community.

To learn more about the sustainable work we’re doing throughout the community and to get the latest news and updates on our progress, sign up for our community emails.

Independence is a new Colorado community, with homes for sale right outside of Denver (coming soon). Centrally located near Parker, Elizabeth, Castle Rock, and DTC (Denver Tech Center), with convenient access to DIA, Independence is one of the most convenient new southeast Denver neighborhoods featuring new construction homes from the low $400s. Join our mailing list here to be the first to hear updates about this exciting, new housing community.

A Conservation Community can be defined in different ways. In practice, it is characterized by “clustered” planning: preserving large areas of open space while delivering numerous associated benefits. As we worked to craft the first of its kind in Colorado, we aligned our development philosophy around three main principles: restoration, sustainability and conservation that bring a holistic approach to wellness for each and every family that calls Independence home. This spans physical, mental, and environmental health by fostering a connection to the outdoors and the land, offering ample opportunities to get outside and be active, and working together as a community to live as consciously as possible. We believe this kind of responsible development is the only path forward in a changing world where our footprint on the environment matters more than ever.

From the outset of this project, even before we acquired the 1,000-acre homestead, our vision was to develop a community that preserves what came before it and takes a forward-thinking approach to what comes next. This philosophy guided the search for the land itself, as we worked for nearly seven years to identify and purchase a piece of property that was large enough for us to bring this new community to life the way we wanted to—with plenty of preserved open space, lower housing density, miles of trails, innovative infrastructure, thoughtful amenities and the most cutting-edge technology to create a place where families can thrive and grow for generations to come.

conservation community near Denver, CO. Elizabeth CO new homes for sale.

We looked for topography we could build our community around, rather than disrupting it to fit our plans. The rolling hills at Independence, with their dramatic views along the entire Front Range corridor and east to the Black Forest, make for ideal homesites, for sure. But the natural features also allowed us to cluster houses in ways that maintain ample open space throughout the development and create neighborhood pocket parks that sit within 1,000 feet of every household.

After finalizing the acquisition, we set out to preserve as much of the original ranch as possible, taking great care to repurpose and restore existing structures, including what is believed to be a Sears Roebuck kit home constructed by the Bentley family in the late 1800s. The sheds, barn, outhouse, silos and all three of the property’s original windmills are also being restored and repurposed into shared, community amenities, including what we hope will someday be an exhibit of the artifacts we’ve recovered around the property.

conservation community near Denver, CO. Elizabeth CO new homes for sale.

Because water is a precious resource in Colorado and essential for the long-term health of any residential community, we have invested significant resources to include the highest level of water recycling in the state of Colorado. This state-of-the-art system incorporates proven technology, intentional land planning, and thoughtful landscape design to reduce water consumption by about half that of a typical home. We’re also incorporating solar panels, watt-restrictive streetlights, and smart-home features to lower overall energy consumption, light pollution and waste. Additionally, over 3,000 new native species of trees are being added to the community.

Our conservation efforts, beyond those mentioned above, include conscientious road mapping around existing topography and clustered home sites as not to disturb the natural landscape. In fact, there are no straight roads at Independence. We’ve also paved as little area as possible in an effort to restore historic drainage flows. All landscaping will include native species and use drip irrigation to reduce water use. We’ve maintained key wildlife corridors, worked to replant or maintain existing natural vegetation, and preserved wetland habitats throughout the property. And of course, of the 1,000 total acres, over 400 will be kept as open space for families to explore and enjoy the outdoors just beyond their backyards. Not only does this allow our residents to live in harmony with the land and the wildlife that calls it home, this type of development is a more sustainable asset to the county, delivering more tax revenue per mile of road than any other existing community in Elbert County.

conservation community near Denver, CO. Elizabeth CO new homes for sale.

All of these efforts are driven by our desire to create a new community that is inspired by the spirit that has long defined the West—a desire to improve the life and possibilities for future generations. And that is what we’re creating here at Independence. A community where timeless, small town values and space to roam coexist harmoniously with innovative infrastructure, thoughtful amenities, and modern technology that deliver a more enriching way of life that can be sustained for the long term.

Independence Community is a new neighborhood of houses for sale near Parker, Colorado in the township of Elizabeth. The first residential construction phase of this new Colorado community will break ground with its first neighborhood in early 2020. New construction homes will be available for sale in spring for 2020 starting in the $400s. For more information on these homes and the exciting, new community taking shape south of Denver, sign up for updates here.