Sign unveiling makes equestrian park official

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Photo by Gary E. Mitrovich. Members of the nonprofit East County Equestrian Foundation pose in front of the new county sign officially announcing the coming of the Lakeside Equestrian Park.

Funding is set and plans are being completed, but there is nothing like a sign to make a project official.

Members of the East County Equestrian Foundation (ECEF) gathered at the corner of Willow Road and Moreno Avenue on Feb. 27 for a short but important moment as the County of San Diego posted its official sign to announce the imminent coming of the Lakeside Equestrian Park.

The project began in 2012, after the community disagreed with county plans to put soccer fields on the site. With the urging and support of Supervisor Dianne Jacob, the idea of a horse park was floated and embraced as being more in keeping with the character and history of the area. Proponents quickly established the nonprofit ECEF to raise money for the future venture. As of January 2019, the organization has raised nearly $72,000.

The Board of Supervisors fully funded the $4.5 million project in June 2018.

“It’s the first equestrian park that the county has funded,” said Cheryl Erpelding, Treasurer for the ECEF. “It’s really exciting.”

The facility will have two large arenas and will not only host equestrian related events, but will be also used for a myriad of other events, including dog shows, llama shows, bunny shows and any number of agricultural related activities, including farmer’s markets and such. It will also serve as a centerpiece and staging point for the public trails system in the area.

Matt Bohan, Chief of Operations for the Department of Parks and Recreation, represented the county at the unveiling event.

“This 14-acre site is going to cement the legacy of agriculture and equestrian activities in Lakeside,” he said, adding the park will serve not only the community, but the entire region.

Robin Rierdan, Executive Director of Lakeside’s River Park Conservancy, agreed with Bolan’s assessment.

“I believe it (the equestrian park) is going to be an economic driver in the community,” said Rierdan.

Though the new signage calls for groundbreaking this coming summer, Bohan said the county is still in the design process.

“We have made some modifications to the plans to expand opportunities here,” he said, in addition to some changes to address onsite drainage issues – something very important in a flood plain. As a result, the Summer 2019 groundbreaking date may be an optimistic one. However, hope still holds for the facility to open sometime in 2020.

For more information, you can go to the ECEF website at LakesideEquestrianPark.com , call them at (858)967-5765, or email them at info@lakesideequestriancenter.com.

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