by Katherine O. Rizzo (pictured above are project leaders and donors with U.S. Park Police Horse Mounted Patrol Unit members)
Earlier today (August 26, 2022), members of the media were invited to the official “topping off” tour of the newU.S. Park Police Horse Stables and Education Center. The term “topping off” refers to the construction milestone of having the roof of the main barn completed.
Located near Home Front Drive on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the facility is being funded through private donations to The Trust for the National Mall, which is working with the National Park Service to create a state-of-the-art, environmentally sustainable home for the U.S. Park Police Horse Mounted Patrol Unit. Construction began in September 2021, having been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jeffrey Reinbold, Superintendent, National Park Service for the National Mall and Memorial Parks, opened the event stating, “projects like these become very important as it is part of the face of the National Mall seen by visitors from around the world.” The facility includes an educational center where visitors will be able to learn about the U.S. Park Police Horse Mounted Patrol Unit, which was founded in 1934.
Wells Fargo was recognized as one of the first and principal donors of the project, with Georgette “Gigi” Dixon representing the company at the tour. Dixon commented that “it is a great pleasure to be part of this project on our Nation’s Mall. The new Wells Fargo Education Center will teach visitors about horses, their history and their connection to the National Mall.”
First Lady of Virginia Suzanne Youngkin, who is also a horse owner and owns Normandy Farm LLC in Great Falls, VA, spoke at length about the “horse heroes” being an integral part of the National Mall and thanked the many donors for helping to “celebrate at this new facility.”
Christopher Stock, Acting Chief of the U.S. Park Police, explained how the new facility will “modernize our operation” as well as “let the public see our operation up close.” Stock also gave some background on the current stables, which were initially built out of mobile trailers as a temporary shelter in 1976. “This upgraded facility is much needed and much appreciated,” he said.
Sheila Johnson, Board Vice-Chair of the Trust for the National Mall and Horse Stables Project Chair, explained more about the project saying, “this stable is a sustainable and innovative home for the horses made completely with private donations.” Johnson, who is also the Founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts in Virginia, pointed out that part of the project includes a new permanent stone path, which Johnson called “a path of hope” connecting the National Mall with the nearby Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.
Catherine Townsend, Trust for the National Mall President and CEO, concluded the ceremony by stating that a new facility for the U.S. Park Police horses “has been on a very long wait-list for a long time.” She added that the project has been brewing since 2010 but it was due to critical private funding that “we were able to take it off the wait-list and make it a reality.”
The new 14-stall facility is slated for initial completion by the end of this year with the public education center opening in the spring of 2023. The stables will also include a medical paddock, outdoor covered shelters within turn-out paddocks, heated wash racks and heated tack room as well as permanent office space for the U.S. Park Police assigned to the facility.
To read more on the project, see: https://nationalmall.org/content/horse-stables
To learn more about the U.S. Park Police Horse Mounted Unit, see: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/uspp/horse-mounted-unit.htm
For more photos, check out The Equiery’s Facebook page!