By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Apr 25, 2019 at 8:07 AM

MKE Urban Stables, reportedly the first facility in the country to augment a police mounted patrol headquarters with equine-assisted therapy and community engagement programs, will break ground with a ceremony on Tuesday, April 30 at 9:30 a.m.

Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales and other dignitaries will be on hand at 143 E. Lincoln Ave. to kick off construction of the $5.65 million, 27,000-square foot facility on a four-acre site adjacent to the KK River Trail, just across the Kinnickinnic River from Baran Park.

Last year, when the project was approved, we learned that the facility – which will house as many as two dozen horses (half of which are part of MPD's mounted unit) – will also offer "outreach and education programs" that are expected to reach about 5,000 children each year.

A partnership with Zablocki VA Hospital to provide equine-assisted therapy for veterans is also planned for the facility, which is expected to be completed by early 2020.

According to the Rotary Club of Milwaukee, which has donated $250,000 toward the project, the horses will receive medical care via a partnership with the University of Wisconsin's School of Veterinary Medicine.

In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will move to the following day.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.