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Funding approved for Equestrian Park

Ana Nita  | Published on 9/9/2018
     With a total budget of $4.5 million, the Lakeside Equestrian Park received the green light for the ground-breaking ceremony and the bidding for construction.
     The County partnered up with the East County Equestrian Foundation, a local non-profit group tasked with raising $150,000 to cover the cost of management and maintenance for the equestrian facility after construction.
     Last month, the County directed an additional $10,000 grant toward the foundation “to support the hosting of events to raise funds to operate a future equestrian park in Lakeside,” as stated in the Second District allocations for the Community Enhancement Funds submitted by County Supervisor Dianne Jacob.
     The equestrian park will be built on a 14-acre spit of land on Moreno Avenue in Lakeside and will be designed to host rodeo events for juniors and seniors, barrel racing, cattle events, gymkhanas, horse shows, clinics and trail events.
     The layout includes a covered arena and renting spaces for public events to serve the equine community in the entire Southern California.
     The East County Equestrian Foundation raised $59,842 so far from private and public donations, sponsors, memberships, and fundraising events. The foundation has a GoFundMe page and is also part of the Amazon Smile project that redirects a percentage of the sale toward non-profit organizations.
     After recent elections, Marty Barnard became the new president, while new members joined. According to treasurer Cheryl Erpelding, the new board will “continue to work toward raising funds and awareness.”
Erpelding was brought on board by Barnard to help with marketing and fundraising.
     Julie Murphy stepped down as the Vice President to have more time to “work with Parks and Recreation on the design of the equestrian park, as the county has never built an equestrian facility before.”  Both Erpelding and Murphy agreed that the foundation needs more volunteers, more people to sign up for the membership or to donate and also more board members.
“Our short-term goal is to see the park built,” said Murphy. “Donations will buy items needed, a tractor, a water truck and implements to keep the ground safe and clean.”
     She pointed out that “our long term is to manage the park on a day to day basis with all types of possibilities for rental.
Murphy joined the foundation at its inception six years ago.
“My motivation is our youth,” she said. “We need to make sure they have an equestrian facility that will remain in perpetuity.”
     The foundation is busy organizing monthly fundraising events either on its own or by partnering up with other local businesses. The volunteers with the board raised $1,242 at the recent Bulls Only rodeo show in Lakeside.
     Erpelding is encouraging people to stop for dinner on July 20 at Boll Weevil in Lakeside where 20 percent of the restaurant bill will go to the foundation.
     A similar event is planned for Aug. 14 at Raising Cane’s restaurant in Santee, while on Aug. 25, everybody is invited to the Wilbur Moore Trail Challenge at the Lakeside Polo Grounds.
     Before that, though, there is the Pine Valley Days event the foundation is planning to attend. Coming this fall, everybody is looking forward to the members BBQ at Lone Oak Ranch in Lakeside.
The equestrian park is a dream come true for Lakeside, a well-known equestrian and farming community.
“I am excited for Lakeside businesses and the money this park will bring to our town,” said Murphy.
     More info about the upcoming events and ways to support this project can be found at