“This is our forever home.” Why Cece Castro is here to stay.

Americans tend to move a lot. In fact, an average of 11.4 times per lifetime. But Cece Castro happily plans to skew that average downward now that her family lives in Meridian Ranch. “Friends and family in California ask us if we’ll ever move back,” explains Cece. “And I say nope. Never. We don’t foresee ourselves moving again, ever. This place is home.”

Back in 2006, Cece, her husband, Albert, and their three kids moved to Colorado Springs, motivated by the dream of owning a home—impossible for them in prohibitively priced California. They bought a home in a neighborhood just outside Meridian Ranch, a transaction all done online. Alas, Cece realizes in hindsight that, coming from California, “we didn’t know that we could have gotten more home for our money.” They settled for three bedrooms (the girls shared one) and no basement for 10 years. But in 2015, they were ready to go.

Six minutes brings big change.

Meridian Ranch was only a few minutes north of their previous home, but it promised much more. Cece had heard good things about the community from co-workers and friends who lived there, and one day their realtor suggested a new Meridian Ranch home, instead of the resales they’d been checking out. “I fell in love immediately,” says Cece. “With the house, the development and the people who were on the block.” Their new St. Aubyn home has the four bedrooms they craved, is “beautiful,” offers Pikes Peak views and is mere steps from some of their favorite amenities.

When Albert feels like hitting range balls, he simply strolls over to Antler Creek Golf Course. It’s an award-winning “prairie dunes” course that is actually Colorado’s longest—yet public and affordable. The Meridian Ranch Rec Center is also close by. At 42,000 square feet, this robust facility provides the community with sport courts, fitness equipment, classes, youth and adult sports leagues, and indoor and outdoor pools. The Castro’s 13-year-old son, AJ, plays basketball and attends Teen Nights there with his friends, while the girls, Danette, 23, and Korie, 17, gravitate toward the pool. The whole family, including dogs Buster and Patches, enjoy walks on the trails just beyond their front door. (There are 10 miles of trails in Meridian Ranch.) “We are very outdoorsy people,” says Cece. “We love riding bikes here too.”

Grading the schools

With three children from ages 13 to 23, Cece has become pretty knowledgeable about the local schools. And she’s come to the conclusion that Falcon School District 49 is excellent—an opinion shared by many. Danette, who has Down Syndrome, spent her high school years at Falcon High, “where she was supported the whole time. Her teachers were phenomenal,” says Cece. Korie, who has hearing loss, was also well supported at Falcon Middle School and now, at the high school, where she is a senior. And AJ is “thriving” at the middle school. He transferred from a school in town—closer to where Cece worked—where he felt that he wasn’t learning enough. At Falcon Middle School, he’s feeling more challenged and happy. “I have nothing but positive things to say about the schools at Meridian Ranch,” says Cece.

Friends, fire pits and more friends

The Castros have only lived in Meridian Ranch for a year, but they feel deeply connected to their neighbors. In fact, Korie says she already has more friends than she had in the 10 years she lived in the old neighborhood. “Our neighbors are like family,” says Cece. They’re always eating dinner at each other’s homes, hanging out around the fire pit and helping each other out. In fact, recently Cece had car trouble and was stuck downtown. She called her neighbor, “who was there in a hot second. The people here are the best.”

This sense of closeness was something Cece’s co-workers consistently mentioned as a perk of living at Meridian Ranch. And it has proven true for the Castros. The kids are happy—so much so that Korie jokes, “you’re not kicking me out!” even though she is indeed going off to college next year. And the grownups aren’t going to budge either. With a home they love, good schools, friends, and endless ways to be outdoors and active, “forever” just might not be long enough.

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