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Daily Plant Masthead

Volume XXIX, Number 6110
Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014

Parks Breaks Ground On Therapeutic Horse Riding Arena In Ocean Breeze Park

Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

On Thursday, May 29, NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, joined

Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora, Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, HOOPH program director Megan Delmar, former Borough President James Molinaro, and Staten Island Parks Commissioner Adena Long to break ground on a new $5.8 million therapeutic riding arena, the first of its kind on Staten Island.

"I am proud to celebrate the beginning of construction for this important facility here on Staten Island," said Commissioner Silver. "Thanks to the generous support of former Borough President James Molinaro and Borough President James Oddo, and our partnership with DDC, we are breaking ground today on a project that will become a valuable resource for both the disabled community and for many New Yorkers."

“The new riding arena was designed in-house by the architecture teams at Parks and DDC. The arena will provide year-round support for physical and occupational therapy programs, but it will also be available for members of the community to use. It will include a nearly 5,800-square-foot riding arena, stables, areas for feeding and grooming the horses, as well as offices, a lobby, and an observation room for visitors. I thank Borough Presidents Molinaro and Oddo for their strong support of this fantastic new amenity for the people of Staten Island,” said Commissioner Peña-Mora.

"This facility has been a long time in the making and I am so happy to be here to break ground today," said former Borough President Molinaro. "HOOPH and the Staten Island Recreational Association have provided, and will continue to provide, much enjoyment to the children of New York City and I am grateful to the Parks Department for seeing this project through."

"This facility will have a profound positive impact on children and young adults with special needs and their families," said Borough President Oddo. "I have been told that the impact of such programs is, in some instances, miraculous. We will soon have a modern, new, and expanded facility to serve our special needs community. Every individual who comes to this facility will have an enriching experience and I look forward to the ribbon cutting."

HOOPH Program Director Megan Delmar said, "The Staten Island Recreational Association is very excited about partnering with NYC Parks to build this facility and we are looking forward to making our founder, Lou Caravone's vision become reality. We are extremely grateful to James Molinaro for his commitment to this project and belief in our mission."

This project, which will construct an indoor horse riding arena for physical and occupational therapy, was generously funded by the Borough President's Office. It will provide conditioned space for users and visitors, as well as unconditioned space for horses and the arena.

The year-round facility will also be the headquarters of Helping Others Overcome Personal Handicaps (HOOPH), a therapeutic riding program for New York City's disabled community. The facility will be ADA accessible and there will be ample parking for ADA accessible vans.

The building was jointly designed by NYC Parks and DDC and was designed to minimize damage to the wetland areas of the park, while also meeting new FEMA elevation standards.

Therapeutic horse riding has many benefits including the stimuli received from touching, seeing, hearing, and smelling, and can help develop muscles needed for walking. The horse has also been helpful in breaking through to persons with learning disabilities.

Ocean Breeze Park currently spans more than 110 acres and was originally part of a vast tidal meadow through which a network of winding tidal creek channels traversed. It is located within a close distance to Midland Beach and the Ocean Breeze Fishing Pier and is also the site of the future Ocean Breeze Track and Field facility, a 135,000 square-foot regional athletic complex that will draw competitors from all over the region once it is completed in 2014.


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