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With the fate of the Quentin Riding Club hanging in the balance, a vote held by the club membership last Friday constitutes the organization’s greatest step yet towards long-term preservation of the historic 46-acre site as an active equestrian facility.
The club membership met last Friday at the Navy Club in downtown Lebanon, reaching quorum for a meeting that saw each of the three previously reported entities present their case and plans for taking ownership of the site. The presenting groups were kept outside the room for each other’s presentations, giving the audience a clearer sense of each group’s specific vision for the facility.
Club president Greg Shaffer confirmed the vote in a phone interview today, noting that he thought the new consortium represented a good balance of tradition and innovation, saying that they would “combine the Quentin legacy and pride with a modern and more open business model.” Yes, the Quentin Riding Club is going public for its first time, well, ever. Such a move could not only radically expand access to equestrian services for those living in Lebanon County, but could also act as an additional tourism draw if the programs and services prove popular.
Shaffer said that the individuals involved with the group had all achieved success in their own fields of equine activity, and “each of them has either shown at Quentin or trained others at Quentin.” The group has been represented publicly by Alisa Pitt in a spokesperson role.
“They have a deep love for Quentin and they want to see Quentin stay equine, they want to see it restored, and they want the legacy of Quentin to be seen by the younger generation and generations to come,” he said.
The restaurant and bar are also set for an overhaul, with an as-of-yet unnamed restaurateur set to take over both and transform them into a public establishment.
The Quentin Riding Club has been effectively shutdown since this fall when it succumbed to mounting financial pressures.
Of its asking price, Shaffer noted that the club had been willing to recognize the buying group’s equestrian commitment and promise to not develop the corner (in other words, it’s not going on a highest bidder basis), but he would not disclose a specific figure.
Based on previously reported debt figures, the actual amount is likely somewhere above $500,000 (the approximate amount of QRC debt held by Jonestown Bank & Trust alone).
The historic nature of the site is said to be a key reason for the purchasing party’s interest in the facility and grounds, which they toured in their entirety yesterday with club president Shaffer.
Although an endgame for the Quentin Riding Club is now in sight, the path to it won’t be entirely easy.
For one, the club has no income right now, and therefore no operating capital to pay lawyers to negotiate a sale.
For another, it’s possible that the sales price hasn’t yet reflected every one of the club’s outstanding debts and vendor agreements, creating the outside chance that the purchasing group could change their mind based on an updated financial picture.
But even if these considerations end up being reflected in the final price, it sounds like the purchasing group would still be getting a better deal than what they would have been able to obtain on the open market.
More information will be available when the meeting minutes are ratified and published in the coming weeks.