Graham Kilmer

City’s New Horse Stables Break Ground

MKE Urban Stables to house police department's mounted patrol, offer equine therapy.

By - Apr 30th, 2019 04:32 pm
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MKE Urban Stables ground breaking. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

MKE Urban Stables ground breaking. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

All the interested parties met Tuesday morning to break ground on the new MKE Urban Stables.

The stables will be the new home of the Milwaukee Police Department’s mounted patrol, but the overall purpose is multi-fold. First, it is a practical move to Bay View for the police department. Their current stables are in Racine County. The closer stables will open up more uses for the mounted patrol, Chief Alfonso Morales said. And this ties into the other important function of the stables: community relations and therapy for veterans and MPS students.

The $5.65 million project sits on 4 acres, just east of the Kinnickinnic River, at 143 E. Lincoln Ave. The site will eventually have 24 stalls, two riding fields and a community space

The city sold the land to the Milwaukee Community Equestrian Center, a non-profit entity set up by the Rotary Club of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Downtown Business Improvement District specifically for the project. That land will then be leased to the police department for $100,000 a year for 30 years. The real estate transaction was a cause for debate at the Common Council. Ald. Robert Bauman and Ald. Milele A. Coggs initially opposed the project, not because of its goals, but because of the lease arrangement being proposed.

But the deal eventually passed, and construction will soon begin on the stables. Though, as Milwaukee Police Captain Diana Rowe previously said, “It really is more than just a stable.” The project gives the Milwaukee Police Department a new opportunity to engage positively with the community. Morales said the youth who come to the stables will be able to “see the police through a different lens.” Not to mention the potential benefits of equine therapy for veterans and students. “This is something that is very well needed in this city: For us to come together with a collaboration,” said Dr. Keith P. Posley, Milwaukee Public Schools superintendent, of the many partners involved in realizing the stables.

Dr. Daniel Zomchek, Director of the Milwaukee VA Medical Center, called the project “A great example of what we can accomplish when we work together.” Zomchek said he is enthusiastic about regional partnerships like the stables, and also about equine assisted therapy for those suffering from trauma and PTSD. “We know from the literature that this helps,” Zomcheck said. “We have stories all the time about how this kind of treatment really changes their lives.”

Mayor Tom Barrett told the crowd Tuesday morning that he was a little incredulous when the stable proposal was first brought to him. He hears a lot of great proposals, he said, and not all of them are followed through on. So he was pleasantly surprised when this one was realized. He called the public-private partnership with the police department, “The most impressive part of all of this.”

And also from the mayor, “And as important as it is, I think it’s also just another symbol of what goes on when a city reinvents itself.”

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