A little Bit of the history of SRPOA
There are very few documents available through Douglas County’s records, but sometime around 1960, a landowner by the name of Slim Thornton began to develop a different kind of residential community. On the outskirts of the big city (Omaha) and all by itself in the country, Slim created Skyline Ranches. His vision was to build a neighborhood of homes but not forget where it was being built; in the country!
He centered his theme of a “community of horse owners” and laid out lots large enough to support such an animal. A trail systems would join each of the residents to one central Equine based park, then simply called Lot 86. One of the first residents of this community to work with Slim in its development was Jerome Given. Jerome envisioned adding an indoor riding arena to all the other amenities of Skyline; and provided such a venue on his own property. Unfortunately, neither Slim nor Jerome could anticipate how popular this concept would become. The indoor riding arena quickly became too small for a fast growing neighborhood.
In the years to come, Skyline would spread from its original occupants along Rawhide Road to incorporate a single community with five subdivisions. Skyline Ranches grew south to Pacific Street and West as far as Skyline Drive. With a great deal of infrastructure required for this development, the Sanitary Improvement District (SID) for Skyline was stretched to its breaking point. New roads, streetlights and power had to be provided for the residents of this growing community, bringing the SID finally to its bankruptcy. For several years, the real estate taxes for our ‘common’ property could not be paid so that tax collected funds could be used to directly support the new residents needs.
With fears of a looming annexation, the City of Elkhorn made an effort to annex neighboring communities in Douglas County to stall a threat from Omaha. In 1993, those efforts were delayed for a short time by the Chapel Hill neighborhood Association giving residents of Skyline to contemplate their own annexation problems. Some forward thinking residents of our community realized that if the City of Elkhorn annexed our neighborhood in its current state, the trail system and lot 86 would become the property of Elkhorn and its future under their control alone. We were going to lose our Equine community.
Jim Patton and Bob Peterson (to name a few) stepped forward to circle the wagons and save the neighborhood they so loved. They came up with the plan to start a property owners association, collect dues, pay our taxes and keep ‘what we had’! Through their efforts, Skyline Ranches Property Owners Association (SRPOA) was born. Through a collective effort, property owners signed a document that enabled SRPOA to collect dues from the property owner (not the current resident) in perpetuity. Through the collection of an annual dues of $150, the debt that was incurred through the county was eventually paid in full. They saved our neighborhood!
Skyline Ranches is one of only six like neighborhood communities in the country that has dedicated trails and a centralized park for the enjoyment of horse related activities. Of the 235 properties in Skyline, 227 (and counting) are committed to the success and future of the neighborhood. Since 1994, SRPOA has managed to accomplish many things that make our community a home. We’ve paid those taxes, we’ve replaced @ 75,000’ of fencing, we are in the process of installing ‘one of a kind’ entrance markers, mowing the grass, planting the trees and keeping up with the progress that surrounds us. At Skyline Corral (formerly lot 86) horse owners have at their disposal a rodeo arena complete with shutes and stock pen, a 4H arena with observation tower and stands, a dressage course and sliding track. We can also boast one of the best fireworks displays in all of Douglas County. With a trail systems that touches every property in the neighborhood, residents have at their disposal over 150 acres of common land to walk, ride, ski and snowmobile from their own back door. Truly, a one of a kind community!
With the value of land and development property going through the roof, the one to five acre lot sizes we enjoy has become a thing of the past. Very few communities have at their disposal a 60-acre ‘private’ park with picnic grounds and fishing lake. A great diversity in home styles and sizes sets our neighborhood apart from others that wish to copy. With no increase in dues for the foreseeable future, few, if any will ever be able to duplicate the amenities we all enjoy. Truly, Skyline Ranches has set the bar too high for anyone to copy at any price but we are not content to rest on our past success. We are getting better and better with age!