Detroit Horse Power to Build Nation’s Largest Urban Equestrian Center

Detroit Horse Power, a nonprofit organization, has announced it is now two steps closer to its goal of building the country’s largest urban equestrian center in northwest Detroit.
30
Detroit Horse Power is planning to build the country’s largest urban equestrian center in northwest Detroit. // Rendering courtesy of Detroit Horse Power

Detroit Horse Power, a nonprofit organization, has announced it is now two steps closer to its goal of building the country’s largest urban equestrian center in northwest Detroit.

Founded in 2015, Detroit Horse Power uses the power of horses to instill critical social-emotional skills in Detroit’s youth between 11-18 years old, currently at partner horse facilities outside of the city.

On Tuesday, June 11, the Detroit Public Schools Community District Board of Education unanimously approved Detroit Horse Power’s purchase of a 14-acre site at Fenkell and Linwood streets, formerly the home of the Paul Robeson School, which was demolished in 2012 after a fire destroyed the building in 2011.

Additionally, site plan approval was granted by the City of Detroit’s Building Safety Engineering and Environmental Department, effective June 5. This represents a significant milestone as the city of Detroit embraces Detroit Horse Power’s innovative land use proposal as a result of years of engagement with local government and the Hope Village neighborhood.

The site will be the home of Detroit Horse Power’s new 26,395-square-foot urban equestrian center serving youth in Detroit through field trips, summer camps, and after-school programs, complete with stables to accommodate up to 17 horses, an indoor riding arena, outdoor riding spaces, paddocks for the horses to graze, as well as classrooms and community space.

“When we set off on this journey to do something so out-of-the-box as include horses in a Detroit neighborhood to serve young people, there was no guarantee that we’d be able to secure an appropriate site in a neighborhood that wanted this to be a part of the community’s future,” says David Silver, founder and executive director of Detroit Horse Power.

“To have these major foundational milestones achieved is something we’re very proud of. It’s affirming to have put in a lot of work and be one step closer to the organization’s ultimate vision and providing a future that kids in our community deserve. We’re committed to reaching our long-term goals to deliver great outcomes for Detroit’s youth.”

By combining classroom-based lessons with trips to regional equestrian facilities, Detroit Horse Power’s programs are designed to instill valuable PERCS skills — Perseverance, Empathy, Responsible risk-taking, Confidence, and Self-control — to help prepare students to become successful adults.

The organization annually serves more than 100 kids through after-school programming and summer camps, which emphasize social-emotional learning that supports positive academic and life outcomes.

The programs and their reach are set to expand significantly through the construction of the new facility, which will turn 14 acres of vacant land into a community asset that strengthens the fabric of the environment for youth in the surrounding neighborhoods.

In turn, it will eliminate blight, raise property values, and encourage other forms of investment, which will contribute to safer, more prosperous Detroit neighborhoods.

The organization has raised $5.2 million, with another $1.4 million pending, toward its $11.4 million capital campaign goal. Leading capital support has come from the State of Michigan, Kresge Foundation, and Meijer Foundation.

Detroit Horse Power plans to break ground this fall with its partners at McIntosh Poris Architects, L.S. Brinker, Wick Buildings, and Ethos Development Partners.

For more information, visit detroithorsepower.org.