BENSON — What started out as 55-acres of dirt and an ambitious dream, is now Cochise Terrace RV Resort, a premiere manufactured home and RV property in Benson.

This luxury RV resort, with its community of four neighborhoods, was established by Art and Pat Bale, who opened Cochise Terrace in 1997 as a high-end place for travelers, snowbirds and long-term residents. Located one mile south of exit 302 off I-10 in Benson, the resort features spectacular views, spacious lots and a wide range of amenities.

On Saturday, visitors were invited to stop by the property for an open house that showcased the resort’s features while providing a list of activities for its residents and guests. The event featured tours of the property’s four neighborhoods, free dance lessons by Bob and Jenna of Sierra Vista Ballroom Dance, opportunities to meet friendly donkeys from Forever Homes Donkey Sanctuary, or stop by an information booth for Kartchner Caverns, to name a few of the day’s activities. An Arizona park ranger manned the Kartchner Caverns table, where he talked about the cave’s history as well as a collection of rock and mineral samples on display at the table.

“We wanted community members and visitors to see the services that we offer, tour the property and learn about some of the area’s highlights,” said Art Bale. “Our goal is to provide a comfortable place for long-term residents, winter visitors and travelers so they can enjoy their retirement years and vacations here.”

For the past five years, winter visitors Daniel and Judy Johansen have spent their winters at Cochise Terrace.

“We love it here,” Judy said. “It’s a beautiful location with friendly people and there are always a lot of fun activities. This is our winter home.”

Robert Nankin said when he and his wife first arrived at Cochise Terrace, they were in an RV. They enjoyed the resort so much, it wasn’t long before they purchased a home on the property.

“We discovered that RV living wasn’t for us,” he said. “We’ve lived at Cochise Terrace for about two years and now have a house. We love living here. It’s well run, clean, attractive and the people are fantastic.”

Visitors Bob Highbridge and Piper King were enjoying Saturday’s activities, particularly the Kartchner booth.

“This really is a beautiful place,” King said. “We’re visiting friends here and are very impressed.”

Amid all the activities, the friendly donkeys from Forever Home Donkey Sanctuary, a rescue located in the Cascabel area, were a big hit.

Suzanne Beninate, the daughter of Art and Pat Bale, who co-owns the resort with her parents, couldn’t resist friendly nudges from one of the long-eared guest visitors.

“They’re very cute,” she laughed. “Our entertainment director had scheduled an event out at the donkey rescue in Cascabel, and fell in love with them. When we were planning the open house, she arranged to have some of them come here for this event. They’re obviously one of the main attractions today.”

While providing a tour of the property, Jim Neuses said that he and his wife Becky are among the residents who serve as volunteers on the property.

“We love the location and the meticulous way the property has been designed,” Jim said. “We have everything we need here. The Crow’s nest is our community center or club house with a library, quiet place for reading, TV, full laundry and pool behind the building.”

The Barn, which is more open than The Crow’s Nest, houses the cafe and is where dancing and events take place.

There is also a fenced-in dog park which is divided into two different play areas for small dogs and large breeds. The park is filled with colorful obstacles and canine-friendly attractions.

Lynette Bosimmer has been a year ‘round Cochise Terrace resident for nearly six years. She brings Max, her Shih Tzu-mix, to the dog park where he enjoys playing with other dogs.

“I’ve been very happy here,” she said. “I like all the amenities that are offered, the location is wonderful and I enjoy the people here. It’s been a wonderful retirement option for me.”

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