“While we are awaiting final instruction on the budget, sequestration and future funding for the entire Eastern States Office, we have identified several key areas of improvement that we intend to make (at the barn) in the coming months,” said Bob Gilcash, BLM’s Deputy State Director for External Affairs, to Patch.
BLM has scrapped the Environmental Assessment of the barn, and in the meantime plans to make improvements to the septic, water and electrical systems. There is $200,000 available for these improvements.
A contractor is currently conducting a feasibility study for future barn operations, followed by a new environmental assessment. The feasibility study is expected to be finished by the end of this year.
In April, barn manager Allison Mills signed a one-year lease that will be continued on a month-by-month basis when it expires on March 31, 2014.
Mills’ previous contract limited the number of horses allowed on the property to 15, and while her new agreement allows 30 horses, the number of horses living at the barn remains at 15.
“It’s been quiet,” said Mills. “The future of Meadowood was so uncertain for so long that people are gun shy to leave their horses here. Ideally, I’d like to have 23 borders and seven lesson horses.”
The Condition of the Barn
According to the previously approved EA:
- Half of the stalls lack windows, and many of the windows are difficult to open or do not open at all.
- The dust suppression is in poor condition and requires frequent maintenance.
- The automatic horse-watering system has been turned off due to its poor condition.
- Due to the narrow design of the existing indoor arena, several horses have fallen while turning corners at a canter, putting their riders in danger of injury.
- Some of the barn structure’s trusses are bowing, while others are severely rotten, indicating that their load has exceeded their designed capacity.
- Some of the barn structure’s beams are notched at their points of highest load.
- Some of the roof purlins are oriented in the wrong direction, causing them to be weaker than they were designed to be.
- Portions of the roof have come unattached from the supporting structure.
- Two-by-fours have been used to extend beams that were not long enough for their intended use.
- Many leaks in the building are allowing water to cause wood rotting and to penetrate electrical fixtures, making them unsafe to use.