Saratoga County horse park plans plod ahead

Saratoga County could feasibly be the home of a new equestrian arena designed to hold 6,000 spectators, according to new findings in an ongoing feasibility study.

Minnesota-based Markin Consulting has been researching the area since May, and President Rod Markin gave the update on Tuesday, Aug. 26, during a visit to the area, where he made his presentation before a Saratoga Chamber of Commerce meeting and at a 4-H training center.

The preliminary assessment suggests an indoor arena with 4,000 to 6,000 seats, two covered arenas, five to seven outside rings, two to three warm-up or schooling rings, a 100- to 150-site campground, 600 permanent stalls and a variety of support structures like offices and veterinary facilities.

Markin's company which has done a number of similar studies around the country was contracted by the Cornell Cooperative Extension to the tune of $90,000 to examine the demand for a horse park and the economic feasibility and impact of such a project. To that end, an online survey has been on the firm's Web site and the update incorporated information and suggestions from that information. The presentation and survey results can be viewed at www.markinconsulting.com/Saratoga.htm.

Locally, there has been a strong showing of support for the horse park. Town of Charlton Supervisor Alan Grattidge thinks a park would complement the Saratoga racetrack and keep with the county's agricultural character.

"We have plenty of activity in the summer months because of the track, but nothing in between," said Grattidge. "This could be a really good facility for the area to go along with the agricultural facilities we already have and to go with the horse industry we already have."

Saratoga County has the highest equine population in the state with approximately 11,000 horses.

Town of Ballston Supervisor Patti Southworth said she would welcome a horse park to the area as an excellent way to preserve open space while still contributing to the town and county.

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