The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave Jefferson County, West Virginia, a $28,000 Rural Business Development Grant in order to compose an in-depth feasibility study for plans of the Shenandoah Horse Park and Agricultural Center. The study will examine potential locations, level of utilization, stakeholders and how the market will support facility income. The feasibility study is set to be completed in early 2019 and will inform the development of a business plan for the park. The Shenandoah Horse Park and Agricultural Center Organizing Committee contracted Rod Markin and Associates of Minnesota to complete the study.
The Shenandoah Horse Park and Agricultural Center would provide a multi-use equine and agricultural facility to encourage tourism, local and state economic development, recreation and environmental education opportunities, and seminars. The agricultural center would also provide a space for local farmers to sell their goods.
There is no multi-use horse park of this magnitude within 100 miles of Jefferson County, the closest being the Virginia Horse Park in Lexington, which is 160 miles south.
“It’s something that is seriously needed in the area,” said Nigel Casserley, board member of the Shenandoah Horse Park and Agricultural Center 501c3. “There seems to be a lot of interest in it, and there is nothing apart from the Virginia Horse Center. You have Morven Park and Frying Pan Park [in Virginia], but there is no actual horse park or center within the 160 miles. You can go to Harrisburg [Pennsylvania], and they’ve got places but not a complete facility with a full coliseum and an indoor arena and the like.”
The Shenandoah Horse Park and Agricultural Center is being modeled after the Senator Bob Martin Eastern Agricultural Center in Williamston, North Carolina.
The endeavor is being led by a small group of people interested in equestrian sport, agriculture, land preservation and economic development in Jefferson County, West Virginia, and the surrounding areas.