Citing ‘unfortunate reality,’ park district closing Palatine Stables this fall

The publicly owned Palatine Stables will close this fall after some seven decades of equestrian operations, the Palatine Park District has announced.

“While the memories of pony rides and show ribbons are recounted by many, the unfortunate reality is that expense of operations and fiscal responsibility to the taxpayers have resulted in a decision to end programming at the end of the summer season,” a lengthy statement on the park district’s website reads. “Boarding operations will continue through November.”

The last pony rides will be offered July 31, and parties can be scheduled until that day. Traditional Fall Fest and Family Campout events will not be held.

  Citing the “unfortunate reality” of expenses, the Palatine Park District will close Palatine Stables this fall. Brian Hill/

Built in the 1950s, the operation at 1510 W. Northwest Highway was privately owned until the park district acquired the nearly 9-acre site in 1988.

The parks board voted Monday to close the operation. The age and condition of the facility were factors in the decision, officials said.

Examinations of the arenas and horse pens by a structural engineering firm hired for the tasks “revealed significant deterioration,” according to the district’s statement. Repairs and other necessary improvements would’ve cost more than $2.6 million, officials said.

“The considerable financial investment required for the mandated renovations could not be reasonably justified,” the district’s statement reads.

Access to the arenas and barns will be limited until the facility closes. Programs and camps scheduled for this summer will be held on outdoor paddocks, officials said.

Efforts are underway to secure new homes for the 36 district-owned horses and ponies at the facility, officials said, as well as the horses being boarded there.

The horses owned by the district will be donated to owners committed to caring for the animals, officials said on the park district website.

Stable users on Thursday said they’re disappointed by the decision to close the facility.

“We believe that this decision was made in error without the full understanding of the value to the community,” Palatine resident and horse rider Elle Haferkamp said in an email. “Palatine Stables has provided adults and children in the community with the opportunity to enjoy horses for decades.”

Fellow Palatine resident Jamie Berger said closing the barn by Nov. 30 doesn’t give boarders liker her enough time to find trustworthy facilities to take their horses.

District leaders intend to gather ideas from the community about how the property should be re-purposed, according to the district’s statement. Officials hope to put together a plan for 2025.

  The publicly owned Palatine Stables will close this fall after some seven decades of equestrian operations, the Palatine Park District has announced. Brian Hill/
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