Fittest loser
Article updated: 11/18/2013 12:31 PM

Lake in the Hills picks new stable operator

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The Lake in the Hills Village Board last week approved a new operator for the village's horse stable, formerly leased and operated by Dynasty Farm, at 1109 Pyott Road.

Josiah and Samantha Kitchel of Rockford will take over the property as of Dec. 19. The couple will be responsible for sprucing up the stable starting this year, Village Administrator Gerald Sagona said.

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"The place needs attention," said Sagona, adding that stable stalls need to be updated.

Financial issues prompted Dynasty Farm to notify the village it was terminating its lease in June. The village received 22 calls from interested parties and three official proposals.

The Kitchels stood out because they had eight years equestrian experience. Samantha Kitchel grew up on a horse farm and worked at horse stables, while Josiah Kitchel worked with horses and ponies as a 4-H member.

In the first year of the lease, the Kitchels have agreed to complete stall repairs and general facility cleanup started by Dynasty. Their rent will be one-third of the boarding money collected, up to $4,600 a month, which is what the village collected on the property before it became vacant in February 2012. The remaining two-thirds of boarding receipts would pay for utilities, repairs and horse care. Boarders would be charged $500 to $650 a month.

The Kitchels propose investing roughly $20,000 into the stable, according to documents.

"It's going to be a cooperative venture," said Sagona, adding that the village never really made any money on the stable.

The horse stable, located on several acres, has been owned by the village since the early 2000s. The property was once owned by local businessman Gordon Larsen, an influential figure who helped shape the village's physical and civic landscape.

Officials view it more as an amenity for residents with a horseshoe-shaped pond, a pavilion, wooded areas, and fruit-bearing trees on site.

Planned improvements include creating more turnout space for horses, building an apartment for live-in barn help, and building a storage barn for tractor and equipment storage.

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