Knox horse-therapy program could replace brewery proposal

EAST AURORA, N.Y. (WIVB) — New York State Parks rejected a proposal to develop a brewery or distillery at Knox Farm State Park. Officials say it was the only proposal submitted during their Request for Proposal process (RFP) in June.

Thousands of East Aurora residents petitioned against the proposal that would have established the brewery on over 80 acres of land at Knox Farm State Park.

Now the president of the Stables at Knox Inc., has a new plan in the works.

“To make the Knox stables become a sanctuary for children with special needs and by that I mean to utilize hippo-therapy or horse-therapy, horse based therapy,” said John Hatcher, President of the Stables at Knox Inc.

Hatcher says a world class horse therapy program would benefit children, adults and wounded warriors. His plan is to get the community involved and companies that will volunteer these services.

“There’s a huge community of families with children of the special needs as well as adults with special needs so I think we would have a very strong base to service,” said Hatcher.

Residents News 4 talked to said the idea is much better than a brewery.

“I think it’s a great idea, there are so many people that love horses and can’t afford one for their own and it’s a good way to introduce the kids to it,” said Joyce Trautman, East Aurora resident.

The state says, “Once a reevaluation occurs all future proposals will be reviewed and thoroughly vetted to ensure that the not only the integrity of the property is maintained but that there is enough of a financial benefit to the taxpayers of New York State.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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