Sterling Ranch Receives National Cultural Award

Sterling Ranch Development was recently awarded the highest honor at the national conference of the American Cultural Resource Association (ACRA). The 2015 ACRA Industry Award for the Private Sector was presented to Managing Director, Harold Smethills.

After breaking ground in 2015, Sterling Ranch Development projects to build more than 12,000 homes over the next 20 years in the South Platte River Basin in Douglas County. Sterling Ranch will be Colorado’s 21st century community, providing high quality, sustainable housing, while preserving the rich culture, heritage and environmental qualities of the site. Sterling Ranch has also been recognized nationally for its water sustainability plan.

Sterling Ranch established an unprecedented protocol for the handling of potential cultural sites. The developers undertook significant efforts to preserve historic properties, which include in part, establishing Heritage Park to protect part of Scott Spring, an archaeological site that was discovered on the property through the exploratory phase.

“When a project of this nature has federal government mandates this sort of consideration for the preservation of cultural resources is common,” said Kevin Gilmore, Archaeologist, PhD, RPA of ERO Resources Corporation. “However, Sterling Ranch established strict directives to proactively implement these protocols prior to any federal involvement. You don’t always see that sensitivity in the world of land development these days.” Following this process, Sterling Ranch was well ahead of their compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

“Sterling Ranch surveyed 932 acres and developed the discovery protocol in coordination with ERO Resources and the state archaeologist,” said Alan Tonetti, Chairman for the selection committee. “Potential historic properties were identified and strategies to avoid these areas were implemented. This, along with their due diligence prior to federal involvement, is largely why we felt them worthy of the ACRA’s highest recognition. “

Eligibility criteria for the 2015 ACRA Industry Award for the Private Sector include: nomination by an ACRA member firm in good standing, documentation of the nominee’s adherence to following the spirit and letter of cultural resource laws, regulations, or standards, the nominee’s commitment to support outstanding research or documentation, and examples of their projects, actions, or funding support documenting work above and beyond simple compliance with the law.

“We pride ourselves on ensuring the integrity of the development,” said Smethills. We have gone over and above what was required and have done what is right. It’s what all developers should do. My father taught us to respect the land and the environment. We have taken great strides in making sure the historic nature is protected and preserved and the development is also sustainable.”Sterling Ranch is a mixed-use, master-planned community in northwest Douglas County. Located on 3,400 acres, this $4.3 billion project is to be completed over the next 20 years.

Sterling Ranch is a mixed-use, master-planned community in northwest Douglas County. Located on 3,400 acres, this $4.3 billion project is to be completed over the next 20 years.

Nine villages built around an innovative Town Center will include a youth athletes’ village along with elementary schools, middle school and a high school. In addition, an estimated 2 million sq. ft. of commercial real estate (retail and office) will be located in and around the Town Center.

Providence Village will be the first of the nine villages to be built and will include 800 single family homes designed for homeowners of all ages; 85-acres of open space; a school site; church; civic center; recreation center; and a fiber optic network delivering 1-GB of bandwidth to each home.

Sterling Ranch’s technology will offer the fastest residential internet speeds, live streaming, street lighting and outdoor security systems, home automation and unique consumer electronics.


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