Southern Park Stables has sat tucked away on Washington Boulevard in Boardman for more than 100 years.
The private training stable was built for horses.
The most recent owner, Janie Jenkins, who died last year donated the stable to Boardman Township Park in 1993. Being aware of Jenkins love for animals, the park figured it would be a great idea to allow the Mahoning County 4-H Club to use the stable for its programs.
“I’m sure knowing that the 4-H is going to be able to bring horses back into the stables and have these type of programs and events is going to make her very happy,” said Dan Slagle, Director, Boardman Township Park.
Some of the 4-H members came out Saturday to help spruce up their first and new home. Up until now, they used the Canfield Fairgrounds.
“This is the first time we’ve actually had a location that we can use for any purpose, any time,” said Janice Hanna, with Mahoning County 4-H.
Not everyone is excited about the new use for the historic stable.
Local historian Richard Scarsella said he was a long-time friend of Jenkins. He felt Boardman Park should have given the public the chance to give their comments on how the stable should be used.
“I know there are many groups that certainly would have liked to have made a proposal. And as far as I know, they were not given the opportunity,” said Scarsella.
Slagle said over the years, the park has always involved the public for big projects, but this time it wasn’t necessary.
“We already had the knowledge, already had the expertise, and the resources of the Mahoning County 4-H,” said Slagle.
The stable will open the first of June and will include a community garden and 4-H community club for neighborhood families.