CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) — The Mill Creek MetroParks commissioners promised Monday night to keep the Buckeye Horse Park for horses. But at least for now, it will be run by the MetroParks and not Buckeye.
After 25 years, the Buckeye Horse Park on Route 224 west of Canfield will be run by Mill Creek MetroParks, though people involved with the horse park still hope further negotiations will change that plan.
Fifty people from the Buckeye Horse Park Association sat on one side of the room at Monday night’s Mill Creek MetroParks Board meeting.
Executive Director Aaron Young said the horse park is being taken over by the MetroParks.
“The goal of the organization is to operate that facility in the same manner in which we had previously. This time, without a third-party partnership agreement.”
“I would simply ask the board, however, to take a breath and I think that this can still be resolved,” said Atty. Darrell Markijohn, who represents Buckeye Horse Park.
Markijohn explained the reasons the association couldn’t agree to a new lease were because of demand by the MetroParks to deny horses access at any time and the stopping of overnight stabling during horse shows.
“Overnight stabling is a necessity for an equine facility,” Candice Murton-Bradbury said.
“Stipulations that were put on the Buckeye Horse Park made it almost impossible for them to accept that lease agreement and for them to use that property. They were more or less forced out,” Chris Jones said.
Bill Pintaric questioned if the MetroParks had the expertise to run a horse park.
“I think you’re going into this agreement without the knowledge necessary to actually maintain that facility because you don’t have anybody that knows what to do with it,” he said.
The people from the Horse Park Association asked for a meeting with the board to try to work things out.
“I want people to understand that, for 25 years, the volunteers have put their heart and soul into this equine facility,” Diane Byers said.
The MetroParks Board listened but didn’t promise anything. It was decided that attorneys for the two sides would meet, but no date was officially set.