AMERICAN FORK, Utah The future of about 20 horses is in limbo as city officials try to sort out how to install a pond for an irrigation system and relocate the stalls for a private riding club.
Mayor Heber Thompson said a proposed deal to add the club to the city's recreation program may have fallen through, so owners of the horses aren't sure where the animals are going to end up.
Club members, who have a Friday deadline to remove the horses, are expected to meet again with city officials on Tuesday. The city needs the land to install a pond for its new pressurized irrigation system.
About half of the 40 horses have found new homes. The owners of the remaining horses are hoping that the city will not force them to move.
"Now we are at the mercy of the city," said club treasurer Chris Mitchell. "They change their mind as often as the wind blows."
The city believes it has the right to tear down the stalls to make way for the pond.
Club members are hopeful that the city is obligated to find property of equal or greater value to relocate the stalls. But Thompson said there is little to no chance the city would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy new property for the small club.
Mitchell said the club's best hope would be to move to a new home on Fox Hollow golf course property, just yards from where the horses are currently living. But any arrangement to use that land would require the agreement of American Fork, Pleasant Grove and Lehi.
Thompson also said there is no other city-owned property for the club.
Without a long-term lease, club members have said they cannot invest in the property and would be forced to disband. The club has said moving to the county equestrian facility would be too restrictive.