Friday, May. 31, 2024

Darren Chiacchia Revamps N.Y. State Park As Training Facility

Three-day eventing Olympic medalist Darren Chiacchia has undertaken a project to revitalize the Knox Farm State Park, located in East Aurora, N.Y., just outside of Buffalo. The park was originally the summer residence for the Knox family, founders of the Woolworth’s department stores.

Chiacchia first became aware of the park through a request for a proposal sent to him by the State of New York.

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Three-day eventing Olympic medalist Darren Chiacchia has undertaken a project to revitalize the Knox Farm State Park, located in East Aurora, N.Y., just outside of Buffalo. The park was originally the summer residence for the Knox family, founders of the Woolworth’s department stores.

Chiacchia first became aware of the park through a request for a proposal sent to him by the State of New York.

“Upon reading it, I wasn’t sure it was for me,” said Chiacchia. “Then I realized that someone I knew from Ocala [Fla.] was the commissioner of parks. She set up a brief meeting at the farm, and we went over the concept.”

He continued, “I’ve been intimately involved in the Florida Horse Park, and this is not quite the same. It’s a private estate, with the oldest polo fields in North America and a specimen of a barn. I don’t think you could duplicate it for $5 million.”

Chiacchia will oversee about 100 acres of the 625-acre park. His ultimate goal is to bring a world-class three-day event to the property, which would help increase sustainability for the park, as well as increasing economic growth in the area.

“I’m doing something for my sport and my community all in one,” Chiacchia said.

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The park is still a work in progress, but Chiacchia hopes to hold a test event there in the fall. The park will eventually house his training operation during the summer and fall. He also plans to offer riding camps at the new facility.

Chiacchia was in the spotlight earlier this year when he was charged with exposing a former sexual partner to H.I.V. without telling his partner of the condition. He pled not guilty and is awaiting trial in June. He faces up to 30 years in prison.

“It’s the most unfortunate set of circumstances,” he said. “It’s been refreshing that I’ve had unbelievable support.”

 

 

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