‘They can just be horses now’
At a June 1 ribbon cutting ceremony and a July 8 open house that featured a special visit by the Budweiser Clydesdales, the Bethlehem Police Department, nonprofit Friends of the Bethlehem Mounted Police, and the community celebrated the completion of the new Bethlehem Mounted Police stable.
Constructed on 10 acres of land generously leased from the Allentown Diocese, and immediately adjacent to Holy Savior Cemetery, the new structure has housed mounts from the unit, Pharoah, George, Asa and Grey since mid-May.
Outgoing president of the Friends of the Bethlehem Mounted Police Tom Tenges said at the start of undertaking the project, “it was unknown how the community would respond,” yet as he mentioned example after example of that support, the answer became evident.
The $500,000 project was completed in its entirety using private donations. At the ribbon cutting it was announced that lead donor Quadrant Private Wealth had received naming rights for its level of support to the project, and the facility would be known as the Quadrant Private Wealth Stables.
The completed facility contains seven stalls, as well as an isolation stall for horses that may be under the weather, a horse shower area, meeting space, a hay loft, officers’ showers and bathrooms. The stable opens out to an expansive eight-acre pasture.
“It’s like their own little getaway,” said Mounted Patrol Officer Eric Waldeck. Security cameras allow officers and the department to monitor the facility continuously.
It was constructed by B & D Builders from Paradise, Pa., with many amenities added courtesy of local businesses through discounted or in-kind contributions.
At the ribbon cutting the Allentown Diocese was represented by Monsignor William Baver, director of cemeteries for the diocese, who noted how worthwhile the project was for the City of Bethlehem and blessed its completion saying, “this is a wonderful thing that has occurred.”
The open house July 8 coincided with a publicity visit by the Budweiser Clydesdales, which were being housed at the City’s Earl Schaffer Municipal Ice Rink during their several-day visit. Thousands were drawn to the open house and it was the Clydesdales and Bethlehem Police steeds, Pharaoh, George, Asa and Grey that were the stars.
After a primping reserved for celebrities, the Clydesdale team of eight was hitched to the brass accented wagon, and joined by Budweiser Dalmatian, Barley, for a couple of loops around the East Langhorne Avenue neighborhood where the new stable is located.
Tours of the stables, food vendors, police demos, and available mounted patrol merchandise made the open house a real community and family event. Cameras were evident everywhere as the public captured not only the celebrity Clydesdales, but also officers Jon Buskirk and mount Pharoah, Eric Waldeck and his mount George, Jason Hollschwander riding Asa, and Michael Leaser on Grey.
Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez summed up the community wide effort calling it “an example of how our citizens came together.”