Recreation Proposals To Expand

Facilities Were Not Successful

#8 Sports Story

December 30, 1990|By Ed McDonough | Ed McDonough,Staff writer

Two somewhat controversial recreation facility proposals did not come to fruition in 1990.

The Recreation and Parks Advisory Board shot down a plan to privatize and add several attractions to the Carroll County Sports Complex north of Westminster, and the Carroll County Equestrian Committee rejected two proposals for development of an equestrian center in the same general area.

The privatization plan first came to light in late 1989, when two developers approached then-Commissioner president John Armacost about the possibility of privately operating the Sports Complex.

A three-member parks board committee turned down the proposal, which would have added a driving range, miniature golf, batting and tennis cages, a par-3 golf course and other projects to the park.

While endorsing the concept of privatization for some park projects, the rec and parks committee said this proposal was not compatible with the complex, which features five baseball/softball diamonds, two multipurpose fields and picnic areas.

The County Commissioners later followed the parks board's recommendation.

The planned equestrian center, meanwhile, fell victim to high expectations and lack of acceptable bids.

The equestrian committee was looking for a world-class facility on the northern end of the planned Union Mills Reservoir.

The center was to include:

* An outdoor show ring and grandstand.

* A covered ring.

* Barns with more than 400 stalls.

* Parking and other support facilities.

The committee also hoped for future additions of an indoor arena, restaurant and equipment shop.

Several neighbors expressed concern about traffic and lighting problems at the remote location off Route 97, north of Union Mills.

Organizers said such a facility would have been the best in a 250-mile radius, stretching to Lexington, Va.

Neither bid would have met the requirements for facilities, and only one of the bids had the required business plan to pay for construction of the facility.

County money was not to be used for any facet of the project.

John Little, recreation and parks director, recently said the equestrian committee is looking at a scaled-down project of simply a show ring in the area, possibly to be built as a county self-help project, which would combine volunteer labor with government money.

He said the facility likely would be built in the same area.

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