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Horse owners at Marina Equestrian Center face potential eviction

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KION

MARINA, Calif. (KION) This summer has been far outside the norm, but 8th grader, Natalie Willett, had the company of one very special friend to get her through.

"I think the horses made it easier for my experience. It made me feel like I had someone," said Willett.

Willett takes riding lessons at the Marina Equestrian Center, but recently received news that action from the city could shut it down.

Next Tuesday, Marina City Council will decide what to do with the abandoned prison, known as the stockade, at Fort Ord. The building borders the Marina Equestrian Center.

Marina Mayor, Bruce Delgado, said if council votes to tear it down, tenants at equestrian center will be given 60 days to vacate their animals. "The dust and the noise could affect the health of the horses. We want to try to avoid that as much as possible," said Delgado.

Fort Ord Stockade
Credit - FORA.org

Delgado said the National Parks Service (NPS) has had its eye on the equestrian center for decades. He said NPS has strict guidelines for how the City of Marina should use the land. "What they want are 'free to the public' activities. The property can revert back to National Park Service ownership if the city doesn't comply with National Park directives," said Delgado.

Dozens met at the equestrian center, Monday, to protest the city's pending action.

Riding instructor, Lindsay Beery, said if the center shuts down her two horses will have no where to go. "Horses are expensive. This is the only place on the peninsula that offers affordable access to horses for our community. Losing that is just devastating," said Beery.

The closure would also mean the end to the center's Star Riders program. It offers lessons to special needs children and veterans. "There's so much research supporting it. To take that away from our community is awful. These children will have no other access to horses. The people of Marina will lose out," said Beery.

Marina City Council will meet online on Tuesday, August 18 at 6 p.m. to further the discussion.

Monterey County / Top Stories

Megan Meier

Megan Meier is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

Megan Meier

Megan Meier is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

Comments

2 Comments

  1. I drive by there all the time just to watch the horses, even tried to ride the horses but I am not special needs so they did not have a service for me and my Marine. Perhaps they would consider opening up a few ride slots for the locals to experience riding a horse. My kids have rode those carnival ponies on a rope before and I had a horrid experience with a pay to ride horse in Cheju Do but I would love to add a nice horse ride to my bucket list, all I have so far is whoa…and get me off this thing and Jump!!! I hope their place stays open, the fact that they provide a wonderful service to special needs should be enough reason to come up with a plan to keep the place open, but…I do understand that tearing down the old prison (Glad I got pictures) would be a noisy and dusty process, but can’t they just construct some temporary pens, not like FORA is going to be finished anytime soon, house the horses over in the fenced in barracks area…let them run free for a bit. (pun intended)

  2. May the Mayor do something anatomically impossible…likewise the National Park Service who want their ‘free to the public activities’. Go protect Yosemite etc where you belong and ARE wanted!
    The Mayor is worried about the health of the horses?! Give me a break.
    Obviously there is another agenda. Usually spelled $$$$$’s. The Equestrian Center is a valuable community service, and a blessing to the MANY who are part of the Star Riders Program. No, I am not part of them, but having had young girls whose lives were so positively affected by riding, I can unequivocally say whatever the Mayor and others have in mind, is one more ugly shopping mall or tourist attracting bike trail or housing project we DO NOT need or want.

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