Firefly Creek Ranch to provide hope and healing to community
Until last February, the Guthrie Center building that had previously been Country View Estates sat vacant for two and a half years, but now, Firefly Creek Ranch owner Brenda Rose hopes to transform the property into a space that can be used for restoration and healing.
Volunteers gathered as part of a team building event on Saturday, June 24 to continue transforming the site into Firefly Creek Ranch. Many carried in boxes full of supplies, decorations and tools to donate to the newly established community center before getting to work. Throughout the day, volunteers cleaned the kitchen, tore down wallpaper, painted and worked on outdoor landscaping and gardening.
“I think from the very beginning, my vision has been about restoration,” said Rose. “This place was lying desolate, and now it’s been restored. It’s been about restoring hope and giving to people – giving them the strength that they need to keep going out and doing what they need to do.”
Rose’s dream of creating a farm-style community space for restoration, healing and senior living began over two years ago. After almost a year of planning and meeting with the Guthrie County board of supervisors, Rose purchased the property from the county in late 2016 for $1. She and volunteers first began cleaning and renovating the property on February 11, 2017, and Rose has been working ever since.
Currently, Rose’s vision for Firefly Creek Ranch is for the building to serve as a community center and bed and breakfast for anyone who wants to get away from the city and spend a day at the farm. Rose hopes that the property will be ready for business by the end of July. Plans to add senior living will come further down the road.
“The possibilities are endless,” Rose said. “Whatever the community wants, we have a place to do it.”
Rose has plans to utilize all of the buildings and barns on the property.
She hopes to transform the large barn into an art studio. She sees the small barn as a possible toolshed and the pancit hut as a place for pottery and woodworking activities. She plans to turn empty rooms into a library, game room, toy room, beauty shop and possibly an after school daycare.
In addition to having ducks and chickens, Rose would like to add alpacas to the farm by next year. She plans to add beehives and grow aronia berries, which are high in antioxidants and nutrients. The goal is for the community center to grow as much of its own food as possible.
“We’re going to try to do more of a farm-to-table experience,” said Rose.
She would also like to build a handicap accessible dock on the lake, a community garden and outdoor room for grilling.
“I’ve never seen someone with so much vision, dreams and hard-work,” volunteer Jan Koopman described Rose.
Though the building is still in the process of renovation, activities and events are already underway for the near future. Rose has been connecting with various art groups and musicians to get activities on the schedule.
“I’ve got a day of healing planned,” she said. “I don’t have a date on it yet, but we’ll be looking at coming together just to talk about qigong, essential oils, yoga, reiki and hands on healing prayer.”
Rose has been networking with healthcare communities in Des Moines with the hope of busing people out to Firefly Creek Ranch for “A Day at the Farm,” where they can participate in various activities and have lunch.
“There’s just so much we can do,” she said. “It’s exciting.”
The team building activity was the first of a five-phase summer project to prepare the building for its grand opening. Rose expressed excitement for Phase 2, “The Flea Market Flip Competition,” which is anticipated to take place in July. The idea is that businesses and organizations will adopt a room or a group of rooms and develop the rooms as a team. Each business will provide gently used furniture and decorations, and the rooms that they design will be dedicated to them. Businesses that participate will have ongoing discounts on rooms in the future.
“It’s such a big thing, but I feel like if I can inspire other people to get involved, then it’s easy,” Rose said regarding her vision for Firefly Creek Ranch.
Rose intends to work and live at the ranch for the remainder of her life while helping others find healing, purpose and restoration along the way.
“I just feel like this is my home,” said Rose. “I want to welcome people to my home.”