City of De Soto Update
by Patrick Guilfoyle, City Administrator
The City Council is pleased, and rightfully so, with recent efforts to get rid of an eye sore and attractive nuisance—the two abandoned houses by Miller Park. The City purchased the houses a year ago and is in the process of tearing both of them down. Their disappearance will make Miller Park an even more attractive setting and visual plus for folks living in or traveling to De Soto. The project was a worthy candidate for City attention and the spending of City time and money to make happen. But as I exited K-10 from the east last week and headed north on Kill Creek Road, I realized that the greatest contribution to the attractiveness of De Soto is an on-going effort that is moving closer (not there yet) to completion. AND, that effort is not being done by the City or any other government body. AND, that effort is being done without any City dollars. All of it is being accomplished through the private fund raising and sweat labor of volunteers and dedicated De Soto residents. Of course I’m talking about the Barn at Kill Creek Farm, more commonly known as the Zimmerman Barn. The Barn setting offers a truly iconic entrance to De Soto.
The Barn, in its rise from the May 10, 2010 devastation of its predecessor, is much more than the sensory impression it makes to someone exiting off K-10 at Kill Creek. It is a community treasure bequeathed to the citizens of De Soto by Darrel Zimmerman. Darrel could have simply cleared the rubble on that fateful day in 2010 and accepted the insurance company’s pay-out. But no, some people, like Darrel, care enough about the community they call “home” that he wanted to use that money to help rebuild the Barn. He unselfishly wanted the site to again become a gathering place for community events, both public and private, to locals and visitors alike. So what did he do? He divested himself of ownership of the land and turned it over to a newly-created nonprofit group (the Barn at Kill Creek Farm Association, www.thebarnatkillcreekfarm.org) to re-build the Barn. As a work-in-progress, the new Barn is a testimony to the Association’s board of director’s faith in perseverance, hard work, volunteer support, and private donations. The Barn is not ready for a grand opening yet; but by golly, with continued faith and perseverance the day is getting closer. And I think again and am doubly impressed–the most beautiful entrance into De Soto exists because some local residents care enough to make it happen; and it isn’t costing the local taxpayer anything.