Midpen delays decision on possible closure of Bear Creek Stables

In a split vote, the board of directors for the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District opted on May 14 to delay a decision on whether to close the Bear Creek Stables in Los Gatos.

The 4-3 decision comes in light of what staff from the organization, also known as Midpen, called “significant escalating costs” associated with ongoing maintenance and repairs and long-term operational costs for the stables. More than 30 members of the public turned out to speak at the hours-long meeting, many of whom asked the organization to look for alternate sources of funding to maintain the stables.

Both current and former boarders called the stables, located on Bear Creek Road, an essential fixture of the equestrian community and the town of Los Gatos.

“We don’t need more cement and phones and ways to keep our kids entertained that are not a part of the historical and environmental legacy that we have in this amazing beautiful area that we live in,” said Lisa Mcleod, whose family leased horses at the stables.

Tracy Powers, a boarder at the stables, said closing them would leave current boarders with “economic hardship” in trying to find another stable to accommodate their horses close to their homes.

Midpen staff outlined three options to the board: close the stables, giving current boarders six months to relocated their horses; eliminate boarding and replace it with a “lower-intensity horse experiential opportunity for the public”; or scale back operations to allow only either horse boarding or programming.

Some board members  expressed support for the second option. But Karen Holman, the board member who introduced the motion that eventually passed, said she wanted staff to have more time to work with community members to come up with alternate solutions to find funding for the maintenance and renovations that the stables require.

“None of the options before us are terrific,” she said.

The motion directs Midpen’s general manager to bring this item back to the board in approximately four months and facilitate the creation of an ad hoc committee made up of board members and community members to come up with opportunities to fundraise or secure grant funding for the stables.

Midpen staff gave a lengthy presentation outlining the estimated $9.5 million to $10.5 million in repairs that the stables need. That estimate far exceeds the $4.4 budgeted for the project when the board agreed to conduct repairs in 2019.

The decision comes almost a year after Midpen selected Chaparral Country Corporation to manage the day-to-day operations of the stables beginning in August 2022.

On April 4 of this year, Midpen suspended camps, trainings, riding instruction and other equestrian events at the stables while Chaparral works with Midpen to “determine appropriate levels of programming and associated insurance for the site,” the staff report from the meeting reads.

Chaparral Country Corporation manages horse stables at several other locations in the Bay Area, including Ed Levin Park in Milpitas and Wunderlich Park in Woodside.

The board’s decision to delay a final call on the future of the Bear Creek Stables also comes after Chaparral told …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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