Staff Photo: Tyler Estep Dr. Marilyn Peterson (center) speaks with the media Tuesday as she's flanked by family and supporters. After several months of fighting what she called a wrongful foreclosure, Peterson is now the outright owner of the Snellville land where Parkwood Farms o a therapeutic horse farm for children with disabilities o sits.
SNELLVILLE -- Parkwood Farms is officially -- and perpetually -- safe.
Last November, Dr. Marilyn Peterson began battling what she called a wrongful foreclosure at her Snellville property, several acres which house both her family home and the namesake nonprofit, an equine therapy center for children with developmental disabilities. Threatened with eviction, she and Occupy Atlanta challenged what they believed to be a predatory loan.
In December, an injunction to stall eviction was granted. The bank eventually offered to sell the property back to Peterson.
As of 1 p.m. Tuesday, that sale was final.
"I own this property outright and it's a very blessed day," Peterson said. " ... The support from the community, the prayers from people that have surrounded us is what's made this happen. We've worked hard and come to a great, happy conclusion."
The farm, opened in 2002, serves about 30 students, regardless of their families' ability to pay. It launched a fundraising campaign when everything happened, but Peterson said the vast majority of the money for the re-purchase of her land -- at one point ballparked somewhere near $200,000 -- came from a single woman.
"She was kind enough to offer me whatever I needed to make this happen," Peterson said, adding that, "I think we better leave it (anonymous)."
After closing for a few weeks initially, Parkwood Farms has operated as normal since November, though they've "had this cloud" over them the whole time, Peterson said.
Barbara Deboer said her 5-year-old daughter Maya owes everything to the therapy she receives at the farm -- nonverbal when she started riding two years ago, she's headed for a "normal" kindergarten class in the fall.
"We are so tickled, and I know that the horseback riding has had everything to do with that," Deboer said. "So much of her speech and all of her behavioral stuff has come under control just from being on the horse."