OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) – While Melanie Diamond didn't grow up in Oakland and its City Stables were already shut down when she moved to the Bay Area, when you ask her about getting them re-opened, she is almost moved to tears.
"It's just keeping that legacy alive there is so much history," explains Diamond. "It's brought so much to so many, and I want to carry that forward."
So Diamond and her company Diamond Equine Services have taken on the task of getting the Oakland City Stables back up and running.
The 7.2-acre property along Skyline Boulevard has been vacant for 12 years and is in need of repair. After three years of negotiations, Diamond won the contract, but still needs to raise funds and support.
"The place is been shut down for 12 years so there has been considerable deterioration," explains Diamond.
She says she wants to make the center green and sustainable. Her first priority is to generate revenue and get horse boarding up and running, but also wants to hold clinics and outreach.
Diamond says it's a priority to have both veterans and the youth of Oakland use the facilities.
"There are kids that are going to come in who have never seen a horse before, who have no idea there are horses in Oakland," said Diamond
Folks who run the neighboring Anthony Chabot Equestrian Center say the doors can't open soon enough. They say they can't accommodate the demand.
"Every stall is full. We have quite a waiting list," said the Chabot Center's Mona Ellingson. "There's a big need to get that place open. We're like, 'God get it open!"
Parts of the City Stables could be open by Spring, but the 5 year plan and 10 year plan will depend in large part on support and funding. Diamond says they are looking for lumber and supplies but are also taking monetary donations.