BLUE DIAMOND (FOX5) -- Since announcing the closing of Bonnie Springs Ranch, locals are flocking to the site to enjoy it one last time.
Many families at the ranch over the weekend also said they signed the online petitions. There are two going around that have more than 25,000 signatures. The petitions call for Bonnie Springs to be named a historic landmark.
“This is what I was looking for - moments like these,” Valeria Baltazar said. She brought her daughter to Bonnie Springs to make some memories before it’s too late.
“I’ve never taken so many pictures of the place ever in my life,” she said.
And it seems like everyone had the same idea.
“It was packed,” Safa Christmas said. “I’ve never seen in this busy ever.”
“You never know what you really have until you lose it,” Baltazar said. “I think that’s what’s happening here and it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s such a great place.’ Well yeah it is. But you didn’t notice that until it’s too late.”
For Valeria, some of her favorite childhood memories were here. She’s one of the more than 25,000 who signed a petition to save the ranch.
“Coming out here and seeing a different environment, you leave the city behind,” Baltazar said. “You literally are stepping into a different era.”
Now that era will get an update. Developers plan to knock down the 1800s ranch to make room for new homes.
“So you’re tearing this down, something that’s been part of the community for years, to replace it with homes or a shopping mall,” Baltazar said. “That doesn’t seem right to me. That seems disrespectful.”
While some visitors are upset, others just want to soak in the Old West town one last time.
“Once it’s gone, it’s gone,” Baltazar said. “It ain’t coming back and that’s sad.”
“Little sad, but I mean things change so it’s okay,” Christmas said. “I think it’s a natural reaction people are going to feel weird about it because it’s been around for such a long time.”
Families just hope developers won’t forget about the community.
“They’re going to knock everything in this place into dirt,” Baltazar said. “That’s horrible. Make your homes, make whatever, but keep a little bit of Bonnie Springs alive. That’s all we’re asking for.”
The sale should be finalized by March with construction starting as soon as possible.
Last week, FOX5 spoke to the lawyer representing the developer. Randall Jones said the plan includes 20 homes, a motel, barn and event area. Jones said they are working with the Levinson family who owns Bonnie Springs to take care of the animals.
“We are very sensitive to how people feel about Red Rock,” Jones said. “The hope is what we create is something that everybody will continue to enjoy for generations to come.”
Jones added he’s heard concerns from the community that more land may be developed. But he assured the 63 acres on Bonnie Springs is all they are allowed to touch. The rest is owned by BLM.