By Don Nelson
Leanna Melton, owner of the horse corral on Highway 20 next to the Methow River Bridge, had a bone to pick with the Winthrop Town Council last week.
Ultimately, the discussion was amiable, and Melton assured the council that her horses are healthy and well cared for, and that she intends to improve the appearance of the corral as the weather improves.
At an earlier council meeting, council member Kellen Northcott asked if the town’s nuisance ordinance could be applied to the corral. He said he was concerned about how it looked, and whether the horses’ health might be threatened by conditions at the corral.
Northcott raised a similar concern about aesthetic conditions at the corral last year.
At last week’s council meeting, Mayor Anne Acheson reported that the town’s nuisance ordinance doesn’t apply, but added that Melton has assured the town she is working on cleaning up the corral.
Indeed, Melton said as much later in the meeting — while chiding the council for not simply approaching her personally rather than making it an issue in the newspaper, as she put it.
“I’m upset that no one said anything to me before saying something at a meeting,” Melton said.
Melton said she had met with Acheson and Town Clerk Michelle Gaines, who were “cordial and professional” about the corral. Melton said she hasn’t been able to make repairs to corral buildings because of lingering snow.
“I’m working on it,” she said. “It takes time to get it done.”
Melton said that she had talked to several business owners in the area, including Arrowleaf Bistro and Robins Egg Bleu directly across the street, and they did not have concerns about the corral’s appearance.
Roxie Miller said people she talked to “said they loved the horses … we should help her [Melton]. It’s a neighborly thing.”
As for the horses, Melton said, she’s happy to talk with anyone who wants to contact her about the horses — and refer them to her veterinarian.
Council member Rick Northcott agreed that the horses are an attraction, but added that “there are a few things that could be cosmetically cleaned up … there are issues that need to be taken care of.”
“I agree,” Melton said.
In other business:
• The council learned that the town and Winthrop Barn Association are continuing to renegotiate the contract under which the association operates the barn.
• Council member Mike Strulic asked that potential adjustments to the town budget, with reference to specific line items, be part of every council meeting because the town “will need to make some cuts.” Strulic said he wants “an ongoing discussion to consider possibilities.” Town Clerk Michelle Gaines said that the town’s revenues are where they were expected to be, as are expenses, for the 2017 budget.
• Kristen Smith, representing the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce, said that some of the new “westernized” directional signs in town are in the wrong locations, causing confusion, and need to be relocated. “We can fix it,” she said.