Updated: Jan 26, 2021
After months of trying to keep FOEF from providing public programs, and denying us the ability to pay professionals to address hazards for over a year, we watched the transformation of the superficial appearance of Marina's largest public park. Cleaning out years of bird droppings and debris, piles of refuse discarded into heaps in multiple locations, and signs that have been present for years were taken down: "Privately Owned Horses", "Do Not Touch", "Do not Feed", and "PRIVATELY OWNED HORSES DO NOT PET OR FEED" signs.
Decade old signs were replaced with new, welcoming signs. Time stamped photos tell the story. All the sudden the "Public is welcome!" All races and identities were now welcomed with signage in mid August, as COVID signs and sanitizer were now on display. COVID and DEIC policies were established on August 17, 2020. The website is brand new and has been developed fall 2020. Management of the property has been their obligation for twenty years, but why embrace it now?
https://youtu.be/zXvV-1Dw4vw was shared with the City after 16 months of trying to communicate about the poor condition of the facility and what could be a great place of learning and engagement for the public it could be while also being safe. After the City issued a 60 day notice to vacate, the transformation began with cleaning up and putting up new signs. At the same time, a campaign of online and in-person targeted harassment of us began in full force.
Some of the members, the long-term private horse owners, most who have been at the facility for 7, 9, and 15 plus years, realized to keep "their horse property" they needed to embrace the pretext of managing the facility on behalf of the general public. They began making YouTube videos, giving "docent" tours of the facility, offering guided trail riding tours and more. Prior to the outbreak of COVID in 2020 only one of 26 members was giving lessons to the general public. There was no tours, guided rides, None of these programs existed for the general public before the City issued its 60 day notice to vacate premises.
Ask for more transparency and ask more questions. Why was your 5 year lease with the City not renewed? Why did you not do anything about it for years at the facility? How many members are there and how many horses does each have? How long has each member been at the facility? How many have public programs? Why didn't you want to do this years ago? Are you in interested in the historic buildings and history? If so, why haven't you done anything about it?
If the group truly wanted to provide public access, maintain the facility and preserve its history, they had twenty years to start the process. The most recent leadership has been there for seven years and more. If they had been taking any of these steps why would the City issue an RFP?