If wishes were horses, beggars would ride — and Brown County would build an equestrian show facility that could have multiple uses.
But on Monday, Brown County Commissioners gave a polite — and completely unofficial — nod of approval to the idea pitched by an Early Economic Development Corp. committee for an equine expo or multipurpose center in the county. Whether that was a first step in having such a facility for the county is anybody’s guess.
In a straw vote of the court, each commissioner hedged his nod with what Commissioner Steve Adams called “the reality of the county budget.” There is no money for such a facility, and it did not look promising that there would be, the commissioners said.
Mike Dooley, of Dooley Management Co., headquartered in Glen Rose, that builds the “tilt wall or metal skin” equestrian show barns told commissioners the facilities can grow incrementally. He showed a slide presentation of different facilities in other communities, all of which are making money, and increasing revenue, he told commissioners. All the public facilities are managed and paid for differently.
Dooley said a recent study had shown the average indirect economic impact in a community with was on average, $5.3 million.
“Almost without fail, when done right, the centers enhance community recognition, and develop the community’s economic picture,” Dooley said.
While it was the EEDC committee that presented the idea, such a project would not be solely the EEDC, nor would the facility be necessarily built in Early, said Charlotte Parrack, a member of the committee.
“We’re looking at land where the center could be located,” Parrack said. “We’re at a point where we need to move forward, and we’re here today to possibly see where the court stands on the idea.”
Early City Councilman David Gray, sitting in for another councilman on the committee, said it was acknowledged that “funding will be an issue and that maintenance will be a concern.
“We’re looking for the right mix of opportunity so we can keep it busy,” Gray said. “We would want to make it a true multipurpose center.”
Facilities vary in different locations, but typically have two arenas, spectator seating for 1,000 or so, a banquet hall and adequate parking for horse trailers.