Locals upset over Potomac Horse Center closure

POTOMAC, Md. (DC News Now) — Residents in North Potomac are pleading with officials to keep the Potomac Horse Center open. Its scheduled closure of July 2024 is looming just around the corner.

“I’m really devastated that something like this could just go away,” said Stephanie Matarazzo, who rolled out an online petition that’s amassed over 1,500 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon.

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The Potomac Horse Center made an announcement at the beginning of May that it would permanently close its doors on July 22. It said that the decision was fueled by financial issues that kept it from affording mandatory renovations needed to keep its lease with the Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission (MNCPPC).

“This center is not only a place for horse enthusiasts like me but also serves as a beautiful green space that offers camps and pony rides to our local community,” the petition reads. “Many families and children in our neighborhood have benefited from their services.”

Matarazzo, who has lived in the area for roughly five years, told DC News Now her neighbors have expressed a profound love for the farm to her and are highly upset over its closure. She said they are particularly worried that a large developer may take over the land.

“It does mean so much to them. Just knowing that a place like this exists for therapy riding, for camp, for lessons, the open houses they have – this brings so much richness to the community,” Matarazzo explained.

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The Potomac Horse Center told DC News Now the MNCPPC is requesting between $3 to 5 million in renovations – a number it cannot afford.

“We couldn’t afford to stay,” said Nancy Novograd, owner of the Potomac Horse Center. “We want to stay but without the support of Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission, we just couldn’t.”

The farm has operated for over 60 years and has welcomed many to its classes, camps and more. Removing the green space would upset many individuals in the area, Matarazzo stressed.

“Keeping [the area] a green space, that is number one. Keeping it open, keeping it green, keeping it as a park,” said Matarazzo.

DC News Now reached out to the MNCPPC for an update on the future of the land but did not hear back as of Tuesday afternoon.

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