Consultant Suggests Closing Big Creek Riding Center


DECATUR-Big Creek Riding Center is park district facility where people can board horses or even learn to ride. But there's been a proposal to the park board to close it.

The Decatur Park District board hasn't discussed the closure yet let alone vote on it.

But the master plan to improve finances and make the district more efficient could mean closing Big Creek.

Ravin Moore pays to board her two horses Jake and Rio at Big Creek.

"This is the one facility that has so much to offer," Moore says.

She has years of happy memories at the park district facility so she and more than a thousand others are part of a Facebook group hoping to keep the center open.

"It's terrible," Moore says. "I would hate to see it close."

A consultant for the park district has made a recommendation to the board to close the center.

"The bottom line is folks simply aren't coming," says Greg Weykamp of Edgewater Resources. "There's not enough horses, not enough consistent revenue."

And he says upkeep for the horses is expensive. So are maintenance and utilities to keep the place going. And the only way this facility makes money is with boarding fees which doesn't cover everything.

"There's simply no long term optimism for it's economic success."

Weykamp says there are between 5 and 20 people who consistently pay to use the center, and the goals of the Park District are to benefit the greatest number of people.

Another recommendation to the park district to re-purpose the center for indoor sports recreation.

There's been no decision yet to close big creek. It's just one of the proposals in the master plan.

If you'd like to attend the park board meeting it's this Wednesday at noon at the Scovill golf course.

Big Creek Stables is on Wedbesday's agenda; however, it will not be up for a vote until September 18th.  

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