Skyline Stables hoping to get back in the saddle at new digs 

The nonprofit Skyline Stables, evicted last year from its hillside home of 60 years to make way for a crucial upgrade to a water treatment plant, is hoping to find greener pastures in a nearby location.

Supporters are salvaging the last of their equipment from the 13 acres they had leased from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission as the agency prepares for construction in March on major improvements at the adjacent Harry Tracy Water Treatment Plant.

Meanwhile, supporters of the stables are working on permits to build anew on another plot of commission- owned land in Millbrae. They hope to re-create the low-cost, member-supported model that attracted generations of equestrian enthusiasts.

“We really are determined to rebuild and really hope that we can build a new facility that will basically cost the same for the people to keep their horses there,” said Christine Hanson, president of the stables board. Hanson declined to disclose where in Millbrae the new location is.

The move of the stables is for a four-year, $250 million project that SFPUC officials say will bring long-needed fixes for the only treatment operation for Crystal Springs Reservoir and San Andreas Lake. The reservoirs make up the emergency water supply for thousands of San Francisco and San Mateo County residents if the main Hetch Hetchy supply is cut off due to maintenance or an earthquake.

The commission awarded last week a construction contract to Kiewit Infrastructure West of Fairfield for the upgrades, which include a new water reservoir, replacing pipeline segments and installing a new back-up generator. Throughout construction, the facility will still operate around the clock, making it a “tremendously complex project,” said spokeswoman Alison Kastama.

Under a settlement approved in November, just before Skyline’s remaining 30 horses had to leave for good, the commission also agreed to pay the stables $650,000 for ending the lease before its 2014 expiration. For the rebuild, the group will draw on its reserve funds, as well as fundraising drives during a phased construction process.

Horse history

Skyline Stables has pieced together a history of the stables based on interviews with the early stable users, family photos and other publications.

Late 1940s: Jimmy Dunn and Johnny Cocanaugher move their stable a half-mile south to San Francisco Water Department land, becoming what would be Skyline Stables
1951: Third barn completed, though most horses lived on the hillside pasture
1950s: Silver Spurs Riding Club for children was founded; it survived until the 1980s
1969: Road leading to the future filtration plant widened and paved
Early 1970s: San Andreas Filtration Plant built and begins treating water
1992: Treatment plant expanded
1994: Plant renamed Harry Tracy Water Treatment Plant

Source: Skyline Stables

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