Liberty Field is mostly known for its soccer facility, but in the north corner of the park sits an unused equestrian arena.
The park originally was designed for both soccer and equestrian events when it was built more than a decade ago, but so far, there has only been one horse show at the facility, and that was back in 2011, Pacific Park Board President Steve Flannery said.
Flannery said the arena was remodeled a few years ago, when a group of volunteers came out and put up new, sturdier corral panels and the city bought an arena drag to till up the dirt in the arena during shows.
Flannery said he sees an individual rider in the arena from time to time, but today the corral sits mostly idle and is overgrown with grass and weeds.
“The city is lax about it,” he said. “A lot of work went into the arena. It would be a great place for rodeos and other (equestrian) events. “
The facility has water and a sewer system is nearby, Flannery said, but it is lacking a sound system and lights. However, he said if a group wanted to put on a big event, such as a rodeo, lights could be rented.
Flannery would like to see interest generated from local horse owners to start up a saddle club, which in many cities manages the city arena and hosts events for other equestrian organizations.
“We’re trying to find an individual or group that wants to come in and use the facility,” he said.
It’s sort of a “Catch 22” situation for the horse arena, Flannery admitted. People aren’t using the arena because of a lack of amenities, but if equestrians would use it, then the city might be more likely to provide funding for those amenities.
Flannery said he asked for $70,000 last year to build permanent restrooms to replace the existing portable ones that could be used by both the soccer teams and the equestrians. However, in the fiscal year 2014 proposed budget, there is only $70,000 total allocated to the parks department, with $30,000 designated for capital improvements for the entire city parktem.
Anyone interested in spearheading the startup of a Pacific Saddle Club should attend a park board meeting, Flannery said.
The park board meets the second Monday of the month at 6 p.m. at Pacific City Hall.
For more information, people may call Flannery at 314-775-6060.