MILTON: Tower, horse park top agenda

Supervisor Frank Thompson, who voted to accept the bid along with council members Allison Saul, Blodgett and Frank Blaisdell, said he would like to see examples of the company's projects and have town engineers review the bid before they sign the official contract to begin the work.

In other business Wednesday night, the board heard a pitch by leaders of the New York Horse Park, a nonprofit organization, supporting the notion of opening a horse park in Saratoga County.

A horse park, which proponents say will bring tourism, jobs and a boost for local farmers and merchants, has been under discussion for months, and Milton officials have said the town could be an ideal location. The park could also prove to be very lucrative.

"In Kentucky, there is a $250 million economic impact, and they will be hosting the World Equestrian Games in 2010 with about 500,000 spectators," said Marsha Himler, president of the New York Horse Park and the Capital Region Horse Council. "There is currently no horse park north of New Jersey; this would be the only one in the Northeast."

Himler said a local horse park could be the site for rodeos, polo, breed shows, steeplechase and other animal events including dog shows and cattle auctions.

"The preservation of green space is invaluable, and a horse park isn't strip malls, condos or gas stations," said Himler. "It would attract environmentally friendly revenues."

Himler recommended a feasibility study to search out 300-500 acres, and estimated the cost for land purchase and setting up basic horse rings for competitions between $15 million and $25 million.

"The park could be built in stages, or the land could be leased," said Himler. "The state should be involved in the land purchase. At the New York Horse Park, we're the ideas people, but we're not qualified to run the park."

Himler is giving a similar presentation to the Saratoga County towns of Saratoga, Malta, North Umberland and Stillwater.

"There are other sites and other counties around the state doing feasibility studies, but there aren't any shovels in the ground yet," said Himler.""

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