The short-term future of SpiritHorse Therapeutic Riding Center is secure at Clarke Ranch, but its long-term future at that location is still to be determined.
The City Council on Oct. 24 approved the signing a new two-year-lease between the city and SpiritHorse, which has been operating at Clarke Ranch since 2014.
The nonprofit provides therapeutic riding programs for veterans with PTSD, children with autism, foster children, individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses or disabilities, as well as others who can benefit from “equine assisted therapy.”
During its three years in American Canyon, the center and its nine horses have served 865 individuals, of which 76 percent were disabled in some form, according to the city.
With the new lease, SpiritHorse will have two more years at Clarke Ranch, which is undergoing a master planning process to develop the 24-acre site into an outdoor recreation and open space park for residents.
The draft master plan includes space for SpiritHorse, which enjoys support from many in the community.
But in drafting a new lease agreement, the city included provisions that raise the question if the nonprofit will ultimately be a part of the new Clarke Ranch.
One provision states that SpiritHorse will have to vacate the property during implementation of Clarke Ranch master plan — and “that if SpiritHorse returns to use the Property, it will be under a new lease with different terms and conditions,” according to a city staff report.
The new lease calls for the nonprofit to pay the city $500 a year — the same amount it has been paying since it moved to Clarke Ranch. The city will also continue to pay for water used by SpiritHorse.
Interim City Manager Jason Holley said SpiritHorse and the nearby 4-H club, which share the same water meter, used 31 units of water last year that cost the city $165. One unit is equal to 748 gallons of water.
The new agreement also requires SpiritHorse to increase its auto liability insurance to include $1 million in coverage. City officials said this new provision was suggested by the city’s risk managers.
One SpiritHorse member called the new insurance requirement “extremely constraining.”
Holley said city staff would try to work with SpiritHorse to find a solution for the insurance coverage that satisfies both parties.
Parks and Recreation Director Creighton Wright told the American Canyon Eagle that SpiritHorse is currently included in the draft master plan.
It is allocated about two acres of land, though the nonprofit’s leaders have asked for more space during previous discussions of the plan.
Wright said he hopes to submit the master plan to the City Council for review this month, possibly as early as the Nov. 7 meeting.