Horses OK again at Promontory Point

       One day after City Council heard Westsider T.J. McGinty's plea for horses in Promontory Point Open Space May 24, the signs prohibiting them were gone.
       “I'm elated,” McGinty said. “I get to look like a hero when my daughter comes home today.”
       He added a general hope that City Parks would in the future be more conscious of the intangible contribution horses make to parks - as well as city tourism - and thus look for more ways to allow than disallow them.
       The action appears to be final. Although Mayor Lionel Rivera had directed City Manager Lorne Kramer to review the parks policy on horses, City Parks Director Paul Butcher told the Westside Pioneer he already met with McGinty May 25 and has begun working out a plan between them. He added that unless otherwise requested, he will continue to work “one on one” with the McGintys - usually the only horse users in the 3.65-acre park - and eventually send a note to Kramer, explaining how the matter was resolved.
       Some upgrade of Promontory Point's dirt trails will be necessary, but Butcher did not think the expense would be too great. Nor does he believe the property will now be overrun with horse users because it is too small for intense use of that kind and does not connect to any multi-use trails.
       McGinty described his talk with Butcher as “real productive.”
       He had appealed to council after “horses prohibited” signs appeared in the park a few weeks ago, preventing his daughter, Kelsey, from riding her horse up to the park as she had done for many months. According to his council presentation, an abstract on the property indicates that horses have been ridden there for 105 years.
       Kramer actually had been directed to look into the matter a day earlier, at the May 23 informal council session, when Councilman Tom Gallagher, a Westsider who helped create the park in 2002, asked that the signs come down.
       At that time, Butcher argued that Promontory Point, although termed “open space,” properly falls under the category of “neighborhood parks,” in which horses are not permitted.
       Gallagher contended that Parks ought to consider the “unique nature of this park in the Westside. There are pockets of areas where people still stable their animals.”
       One such stable is next to the trail up to Promontory Point, where the McGintys keep their two horses.
       In talking to council, McGinty's main legal point was that city code stipulates that horseback riding is allowed in city open space. However, Butcher said afterward that “many, many, many” open space areas do not allow it because they are too small, too fragile or protected due to endangered animal species.

Westside Pioneer article