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updated: 11/1/2013 5:56 PM

Lake in the Hills reviews potential horse stable operators

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The Lake in the Hills village board is close to picking a new operator for the village's horse stable, formerly leased and run by Dynasty Farm, at 1109 Pyott Road.

The village received 22 calls from interested parties since Dynasty Farm notified the village that it was terminating its lease in June due to financial issues. Only three proposals were submitted, out of which one stood out, officials said.

Josiah and Samantha Kitchel of Rockford, a couple with eight years equestrian experience, are looking to lease the stable, and within the first year complete stall repairs and general facility cleanup started by Dynasty, which is expected to vacate the barn by Dec. 18.

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

The village board was unanimous in its support of the Kitchels' proposal, Village President Paul Mulcahy said.

Officials hope to continue operating the horse stable, which has been owned by the village since the early 2000s, because it is a unique business to the village, Mulcahy said.

"When it was successful out there, it was a very nice amenity here in the village," he said. "The driving part of the decision was that there is a lot more land there."

The horse farm itself is a small part of the multi-acre property -- once owned by local businessman Gordon Larsen, an influential figure who helped shape the village's physical and civic landscape -- which has a horseshoe-shaped pond, a pavilion, wooded areas, and fruit-bearing trees on-site.

"There's a lot of different things there that made it kind of attractive for the village," Mulcahy said. "We're hoping that we can find another tenant out there that will have some success and be long-term."

The Kitchels would both manage and maintain the stable under the proposal. 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.

The couple also plans to make improvements such as creating more turnout space for horses, building an apartment for live-in barn help and building a storage barn for tractor and equipment storage.

Village Administrator Gerald Sagona said his staff is negotiating the terms of a tenant lease with the Kitchels and the village board will vote on it Nov. 14.

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