Still waiting for a new home

Program uses animals to comfort children under stress

By Kate Daly | Special to the Almanac

So near and yet so far. That describes the place Jasper Ridge Farm finds itself in now that the nonprofit has run into more delays on building a new home at Webb Ranch.

The organization, which uses animals to provide comfort and healing for children who are ill or in other stressful situations, had planned to put up earlier this summer a modular barn and fencing on a two-acre site at Webb Ranch, located at 2720 Alpine Road, just west of Interstate 280.

However, unexpected requirements and costs keep popping up in the permitting and construction process, so things are on hold, said Wendy Mattes, executive director of the program.

"We will have to ramp up the capital campaign again, and simultaneously find more vendors to donate or discount their services," she says.

Several vendors had stepped forward with offers to help after hearing about the program's plight, including the distance the animals three miniature horses, two sheep, two goats, four rabbits, two guinea pigs, a chicken and a cat were being shipped from their temporary home in Gilroy to visit with children on the Midpeninsula.

The animals used to live in Woodside and were slated to move to Webb Ranch within a year or so, but, for starters, it took more time and money than expected to get county clearance on bringing utilities to the site.

As a year turned into two, donors pitched in hundreds of thousands of dollars to start work on what was estimated to be a $450,000 project.

A groundbreaking ceremony took place in March, a construction fence went up, and piles of building material were stacked on the site. Then came another holdup: the estimate to excavate grew from $25,000 to $200,000.

Ms. Mattes said Grove Construction responded by offering to donate some earthwork, and made "a wonderful deal" on concrete. Soils engineer Richard Kolterer offered to volunteer his time.

"I'm overwhelmed by the goodness of humanity," she said, but admitted she is still concerned about the future.

Meanwhile, the barn-raising date is not set. The animals, staff and volunteers continue to travel to fulfill their active summer schedule at places such as Ronald McDonald House and Holbrook-Palmer Park. And Webb Ranch continues to provide lesson horses for the children and veterans who are participating in Jasper Ridge Farm's special riding sessions.

Go to jasperridgefarm.orgfor more information.

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9 people like this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Aug 19, 2015 at 12:32 pm

This being California, anyone who wants to do something positive for society will be forcefully stopped by an army of bureaucrats and lawyers.

3 people like this
Posted by Stop the Trolls
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2015 at 3:42 pm

And you have done what, exactly, to rectify the situation? Anything? Anything at all?

1 person likes this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 19, 2015 at 5:24 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

What this highlights is that our county building and planning departments SUCK. Any time anyone wants to do anything involving these departments things "keep popping up." Never mind the fact that if the departments were run efficiently and professionally one could be provided with a complete list of requirements for any given project. This is not what happens in the county. First one goes in and they give you a list of things you need to provide. You come back with those and then they give you another list of things you need to provide. This goes on for four or five trips minimum. That's why things "pop up" not because they were unexpected but because the departments are too lazy, stupid or incompetent or combination of those to provide you with everything you need to get a project through building and planning. It's almost as if they enjoy screwing with peoples' time.

Think I've had some experience dealing with these idiots?

1 person likes this
Posted by Tia
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Aug 20, 2015 at 10:38 am

Jasper Ridge Farm is a wonderful program and helps so many! I met many of the staff and animals at Woodside's Day of the Horse, and again at Ronald McDonald House, and was very moved by their dedication and what joy they brought to children. let's do all we can to support this unique group, and let Portola Valley shine proud!

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