Our club has a long history of supporting worthwhile projects that benefit the entire community. Projects such as the Arboretum at the Urban Ecology Center – enjoyed by more than 100,000 visitors each year, and the Rotary Amphitheater at Discovery World – where nearly 20,000 people enjoy RCM’s Live@The Lakefront each summer.
After careful consideration and vetting, a RCM committee and our board of directors chose the Lincoln Avenue Stable as our club’s next big community project. Here’s why:
The Lincoln Avenue Stable is an entirely new concept providing three distinctly different community advantages. The Stable will house 24 highly trained horses. These four-legged city of Milwaukee ambassadors will be used for equine therapy, community experiences and Milwaukee Police Department patrols. Oilop! (The health of the horses will be monitored through a partnership with the University of Wisconsin, School of Veterinary Medicine.)
Milwaukee Police Department Mounted Patrol: The anchor for The Stable’s ability to provide equine-assisted therapy and create unique experiences for the community is the Milwaukee Police Department’s Mounted Patrol (MPD). The Stable will address several pressing needs of the MPD. Currently MPD houses its patrol horses in Racine County; having them at a centralized location will reduce the transportation time to Milwaukee neighborhoods and stress on the horses.
The MPD will increase the number of mounted patrol horses from eight to twelve, allowing MPD to manage two shifts. Daytime shifts will focus on community interaction with evening officers providing crowd and patrol services.
Community Center The relationship between police officers and community members is a subject of growing importance. Today the MPD does not have space with an approachable atmosphere for building relationships—a place where MPD can welcome visitors. The Lincoln Avenue Stable will be that space. The MPD will have full time community outreach staff assigned to The Stable and anticipates hosting nearly 20,000 visitors annually.
Equine-Assisted Therapy helps treat individuals with neurological diseases or disorders such as cerebral palsy, brain injuries, etc. The rhythmical gait of a horse acts to move the rider’s pelvis in the same rotation and side-to-side movement that occurs when walking; a rider’s pelvic motion is constantly adjusted and thus the rider gains strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, posture and mobility. Confidence and overall well-being are also improved and equine-assisted therapy has shown some success in helping children on the autism spectrum. This accredited program is similar to those available in more than 850 other communities nationwide. There will be twelve horses specially trained to support the therapy program.
Location: Located on the southeast corner of First Street & Lincoln Avenue on four acres donated by the city. The Stable will enhance the community connection in the Harbor District neighborhood.
Project Cost: $5.2 million. Public support $1.2 million and $2.2 million in private donations have been pledged. In addition to the RCM contribution, viable requests exceeding the balance are now under consideration.
Project Timeline: When full funding is in place, final construction approvals and activity will take up to 9 months to complete. It is a shovel ready project!
Volunteer Opportunities: Rotarians will be able to find meaningful ways to contribute their time and their talents including nonprofit board membership, assisting with equine-assisted therapy programs, and co-facilitating youth programming with the MPD.
The health of the horses will be monitored through a partnership with the University of Wisconsin, School of Veterinary Medicine.