I’m writing to share with the First Lutheran congregation and Ryssby community about activities we have been actively working on this year to improve and maintain the Ryssby church and grounds. Hopefully this blog will be a good way for the committee to share information with the community.
Every year we try to coordinate improvements at Ryssby if we have the financial means to fund the projects, and if it is needed for the sustainability of the property. Last year we hoped in 2020 to accomplish two projects. One was to install an irrigation system using a cistern for temporary water storage, and the second was to improve the flowerbed attached to the east end of the building to prevent water damage at the building foundation. I’m happy to report that we accomplished both early this year even with the Covid-19 restrictions.
For the irrigation project we had been working with Jody Anderson (who represented her family) because they had reached out to us regarding water shares and irrigation needs. In review we couldn’t use the additional water shares, but felt we wanted to install an irrigation system instead of doing the flood irrigation method. The system would provide improved coverage throughout the summer by watering more often and help with scheduling around Ryssby events and cemetery activities.
In late 2019, Jody let us know that they would assist with funding the irrigation system. Randy Williams, Caretaker/Sexton, worked to find a landscape company capable of planning this large project and get a cost estimate quote. We chose J&S Landscape after we reviewed their plans and met with them about the project. They would be able to work within our timetable, unique requirements, and willing to work closely with us to achieve our expectations. At the January meeting, the committee approved moving forward to install the system as planned with the Anderson family memorial support.
Randy Williams and Herb Hergott reviewed the project with Lefthand Ditch Water, New Table Mountain, and Boulder County representatives to receive approvals early in the year. The cistern system captures water from the ditch. It passes through the storage tanks and what is not pumped out for our use returns to the irrigation ditch. The water pumped for irrigation is metered at the pump so that we can compare gallons of water used to our water shares allocated.
In early March, Randy and Herb worked with Boulder County personnel to remove several trees along the ditch to prepare for the digging work necessary for the project. We also cleaned the ditch of bushes, shrubs, and debris for water flow and maintenance.
With approval for the system, and a contractor scheduled for the project we reached out to Jody Anderson and family on the donation to Ryssby for the project. The donation is in memory of Edwin and Louise Anderson by Jim and Brenda Anderson, Jody Anderson, and Barbara and Randy Foos. The committee is very thankful to the Anderson family for this generous donation.
J&S Landscape started the project work in the last week of March and it was completed the second week of April just before the snowstorm. Boulder County started water in the ditch for cleaning and delivery to Lagerman reservoir in late April after the snow storms. A few days later we were able to begin water flow from the ditch to the cisterns and test the system. At the end of April, Randy programmed the irrigation system to run periodically for regular watering of the grounds and we look forward to green grass and caretaker manageability for events and activities at Ryssby.
The project to improve the east flowerbed and prevent water drainage to the foundation required improving the old stone and concrete structure that deteriorated over the years. We reached out to Hicks Masonry who had previously done several projects at Ryssby over the years with success. Hicks did the entrance improvement in 2019, the Columbarium in 2011, and several of the stone benches on the grounds. We received the quote for the project late 2019. At the January committee meeting, the expense of funds for this project was approved. We requested Hicks Masonry schedule this work to be completed by early May before the flowerbed is worked for its summer growth. They were able to start work the beginning of April and complete this project in 2 weeks just before the April snowstorms. We believe the project will greatly help divert water away from the foundation and reduce the humidity observed inside the church building.
With Covid-19 concerns we did not have the regular Ryssby cleanup day with a large gathering and an awesome lunch provided by Pauly Brockmann. We have successfully been able to reach out to some friends of Ryssby via emails and get the leaves and debris raked, bagged, and hauled off by Randy Williams. We are thankful to everyone who helped with this special request, and we believe the grounds will be in good shape for Memorial Day and events for 2020, if permitted by Covid-19 guidelines.
The committee is presently working closely with First Lutheran Pastors, Staff, and Church Council regarding the mid-summer picnic scheduled for June 28th. We will let you know in early June if we will have the mid-summer event which may be limited on the activity for that date, or if we need to reschedule the event.
Peggy Shupe continues to work on a historical narrative of Ryssby Church Colorado which is almost completed. From her narrative she is working on the video project of Ryssby history with personal interviews from previous committee members and caretaker. These interviews are of individuals involved with the Ryssby operations and restoration projects for many years. Peggy collected photos from families, friends, and neighbors who attended or visited the church since built in 1882 for this video too. We hope to share the written narrative and a DVD video in late 2020.
On behalf of the Ryssby Committee, we thank everyone who helps maintain the grounds, with the mid-summer event, and candlelight services.
Ryssby committee chairman