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Update: August 2012, Golden Gate Park Stables
Friends of Golden Gate Stables
Golden Gate Park Stables Renovation Update
Even Horses aren't Immune to a Bear Market

Update: August 2012
Connie Chan, Deputy Director of Public Affairs for San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, reports, "Our team is still working to make progress for the Golden Gate Park Stables renovation, we hope to have more updates when funding becomes available for the renovation. Anyone who may be interested in raising funds for the Golden Gate Park Stables, please contact: San Francisco Parks Alliance, and for more information, please visit their website: ."

Friends of Golden Gate Park Stables
In April 2010, a group of interested equestrians began discussing ways to assist with the reopening of Golden Gate Park Stables. A call for "Friends of Golden Gate Park Stables" was posted on equestrian websites, an equestrian newsletter, and announced at the San Francisco Horsemen's Association general meeting. Approximately 25 people responded with interest to help.

Since that time, core members of the "Friends" group have attended three meetings with staff from San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department (SFRPD) and San Francisco Parks Trust (SFPT) to determine how to assist and move forward with the goal of renovating the stables.

The most recent meeting was in March 2011 with SFPT staff, Executive Director Karen Kidwell & Program Manager Maria D'Angelico, to discuss applying for Park Partner. At that meeting, the Equestrian Center Plan (Blueprint for Financial Sustainability) from August 2008 was made available for review.

Given the enormity of the project, achieving Park Partner status currently seems unlikely if the sole objective is a renovation project. In discussing how to best qualify for Park Partner status, it appeared that changing goals from a renovation project to raising awareness of the project might be the best strategy.

A new short term goal could be to raise awareness and re-introduce an equestrian presence/events in Golden Gate Park, while continuing to investigate the long term goal of renovating the Golden Gate Park Stables. Fundraising for a feasibility study of prospective donors was mentioned, and it was also learned that funds currently in place at SFPT are still allocated to the Stables project.

The impetus for forming "Friends of Golden Gate Park Stables" was to support San Francisco Recreation and Park and San Francisco Park Trust in their effort to renovate the public stables and restore horseback riding to Golden Gate Park. Evaluating new goals, and reassessing the interest of those who responded, is needed to determine whether there's active interest in reintroducing equine activities in Golden Gate Park and ultimately renovating the Park Stables.

If you are interested, and are willing to commit a significant contribution of time or resources, please contact
- May 2011


phase 1

April 2010 Update:
Mary A. Hobson, Project Director, CCSF Recreation and Park Department (Capital Improvement Division) reports : "Phase I is currently underway. The contractor is performing hazardous material abatement and is scheduled to begin demolition work this week. The demo and site work is scheduled to be completed by May 31. RPD will follow up with minor accessibility upgrades to parking and path of travel around the site. Unfortunately, no new news on the time-line for future phases of work."

Golden Gate Park Stables Renovation Update:

Recreation and Parks Department (RPD) is leading the Phase I construction project. San Francisco Parks Trust (SFPT) will lead Phase II. A contractor has been engaged as has a construction management firm.

RPD is awaiting a permit to begin work, which is expected to be issued before the end of January 2010. The work on Phase I of the renovation is then expected to begin before February 1.

SFPT raised sufficient funds to cover costs for Phase I of construction (which includes razing the grandstands, removing the derelict and non-historic structures, and site grading).

SFPT has not renewed their fundraising efforts for the project yet - the economy is recovering and they are hopeful to begin fundraising again in the near future. Once SFPT begins fundraising and awareness efforts for the project, they will contact the people who wanted to help as well as work to engage new volunteers to help with outreach and fundraising. SFPT is committed to bringing horses back to Golden Gate Park and, again, hope to focus on it in the near future.

For more info contact:
San Francisco Parks Trust
San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department
- January 2010

Even horses aren't immune to a bear market
A roughly $14 million project to build a new equestrian center in Golden Gate Park is on hold, the latest casualty in the country's economic turmoil.

The nonprofit San Francisco Parks Trust and the city Recreation and Park Department say they plan to go ahead with the first phase of the project -- demolishing the unsafe grandstands at the old stables in the park, removing derelict buildings there and stabilizing the site.

But they don't have the funds to complete the entire project, which includes building new stables and a covered riding area. "It's just a really difficult time for this project," said Karen Kidwell, San Francisco Parks Trust executive director. "We're putting it on hold, but it will go forward at some point."

Kidwell says it's still unclear when the initial phase of the project will start. The trust has raised about $2 million for the project, designed to replace the dilapidated stable grounds that closed in September 2001 and left the city without a public riding facility for the first time in 130 years.

But that $2 million was raised over the last two years, Kidwell said, and fell short of the $2.25 million needed to be raised in one year to qualify for three-to-one matching funds under Proposition G that city voters passed in 2007.

The initial phase is also dependent on state funds for park improvements and coastal protection, money that is now tied up in the state budget impasse in Sacramento.

All of that leaves us well shy of $14 million.
"We have had to adjust our restoration schedule," Kidwell said.
-John Coté, SF Gate, 02/04/09

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