MILWAUKEE — A new project in Milwaukee will soon offer residents a horse therapy program with a focus on healing people with trauma in the city.
Milwaukee Urban Stables will also house the city police's mounted patrol horses. It'll be the first of its kind nationwide to combine the two functions.
The project aims to serve as a unique community space in which those receiving therapy or visiting the horses can interact with police in a positive way, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
The idea for the program came a few years ago after the Milwaukee Police Department's Mounted Patrol Unit began looking for a new location for its horses. Their horses have been housed 17 miles (27 kilometers) away in Caledonia.
The agency decided the new facility should be multipurpose in order to better serve the community.
The therapy program will to treat urban residents such as veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, said Mary McCormick, executive director of the Rotary Club.
Milwaukee-area veterans currently travel to rural Wisconsin or Illinois for equine therapy. McCormick said Milwaukee Urban Stables plans to partner with the Milwaukee VA Medical Center to make the services more accessible.
"People in the community are really committed to making this happen," she said.
The therapy program will also partner with Hamilton High School to help students with special needs. McCormick said the high school's students will also be able to volunteer at the stables. They're expected to engage more than 5,000 students annually, according to a presentation given to the Redevelopment Authority.
The 30,000-square-foot (2,787-square-meter) facility will house up to 24 horses, half of which will belong to the Police Department.