The town of Lyons had three mobile home parks, and two of them were flooded with water from the St. Vrain River during the Great Flood of 2013. They were declared disasters, and all trailers were destroyed or removed, and no one can build on the properties now. Thru special consideration, two groups went before the Town of Lyons, and the federal government, to get permission to create businesses or gardens on them. No permanent structures can be built on them. The following are very abbreviated descriptions of how the land changed. — Note: the Town of Lyons purchased the Haines property (from the homeowner) with GoCo funds, which was located approximately between Meadow Park and Riverbend. A week later it was destroyed by the Great Flood. No structures can be built on it, and it is a grassy area now.
==Flood plains are areas adjacent to rivers, ponds, lakes, and oceans that are periodically flooded at different points in time.
==Flood zones are geographic areas that the FEMA has defined according to varying levels of flood risk.
==High-risk flood areas begin with the letters A or V on FEMA flood maps. These areas face the highest risk of flooding. If you own a property in a high-risk zone and have a federally backed mortgage, you are required to purchase flood insurance as a condition of that loan.
Here is a link to FEMA’s flood maps, and National Flood Insurance Program: LINK
Foothills Mobile Home Park = now Rocky Mt Botanical Gardens
The Foothills Mobile Home Park, located near Prospect and Hwy. 7, was a thriving community of 13 homes, with 37 people living there, according to Town of Lyons records. The Great Flood of 2013 caused the river to run over the park, crushing the homes that were filled with mud as much as 4 feet high, and carrying many items, like sheds, down the river. Two cabins were also lost. The people were displaced, and most moved out of town in search of affordable housing.
In the aftermath of the flood, the park owner, John Baranway, hoped to rebuild the property into another Park. He had owned it for 20 years. But, in the end, he took the buyout from the federal government, who razed the lot. It was given to the Town, along with 25 other lots. The federal flood buy-out program has terms forbidding future building.
Garima Fairfax spent years putting together a plan to develop the area into a botanic garden. She presented detailed analysis, goals and drawings to the Town Board, and final approval was given four years ago. The Rocky Mt. Botanical Gardens was created through volunteer helpers, and Garima is there almost every morning, working in the garden. Each year new plants and items are added, like mulch, signage, seating, walkways and more. It is open to the public daily. If you type in “rocky mt botanic” into the search box at the top of the page, you will see six articles, written mainly in the spring and fall of each year, which will give you an update on the Gardens. They have a fundraiser plant sale every May.
You can also read our article about Mary and Don Hunt who lived in the park for 14 years and were instrumental in the running of the Golden Gang, which was Lyons Senior Club. A bench was installed in his memory. Don kept a large flower garden there that was the pride of the community. He would be happy to see how that legacy has continued on.
Riverbend Mobile Home Park = now River Bend /and Wee Casa
The Riverbend Mobile Home Park was home to 32 Lyons families. Floodwaters over ran the Park, badly damaging two houses, and 30 trailers, and shattering the nearly 50-year-old community. A small number were deemed repairable, but would have to be moved. Eventually some were moved but most were demolished. The lot was razed, after being declared in the flood plain. The land is now uneven and considered below the flood plain.
After seven years, the property was bought by Mike Whip and Betsy Burton. Kenyon Waugh and Steve are partners in the land. (The two also own Wee Casa.) The property business is called River Bend Events Center, and, like its other Lyons property on Hwy. 36, The Farmette, it is used for festivals, weddings and other events. Some of it is Flood way, some of it Flood plain and some not. It has no permanent buildings on it. There is a large canvas tent, and a sandstone patio by the River, and a toilet facility. Lush green grass covers most of the six-acres, along with lots of shade trees, making it a riverside oasis.
On the northern portion of the property is Wee Casa Tiny House Resort. It is a group of “tiny houses,” a popular trend now, where people live in spaces generally from 100 to 400 square feet. It usually has one main living room and kitchen, and a private bathroom, and a bed that is often in a loft space. These homes were allowed because they are considered “on wheels” and can be moved in case of a disaster. It is owned by Kenyon and Steve and they lease the land. The homes are available to renters as lodging. No permanent residents live in them. Each one is different… such as the Hobbit House/a gnome home, a Rockies-themed loft, and a rustic cabin. They are Colorado’s largest tiny house resort with 22 tiny houses of varying sizes, models and builders.
(See our FLOOD RECOVERY article 9/14/23 on Amanda Anderson, who lived in the Trailer Park)