After lengthy delays, the Carroll County Equestrian Council made progress last year toward establishing the long-awaited equestrian facility that can be used for various types of shows, activities and competitions.
"The plans of what we specifically want to do have to be presented to the county, but I think the Gillis Falls (proposed reservoir) site is where this will be built," says council spokesman Bob Panek.
Panek says the first two northern sites in the Union Mills area were rejected because of a wetlands problem and because of difficulty of clearing the land and lack of access, respectively.
"The GillisFalls site, which the county just acquired, is already cleared," Panek says. "We had to make sure this (South Carroll) site would be environmentally acceptable, and the Department of Parks and Recreation has assured us that it is. We also have to assess the space, parking, access and electrical and sewage possibilities.
"The Gillis Falls site facility should cost less than one at Union Mills because it won't cost so much to clear the land. And there is better access, via already-paved roads, to the site at Gillis Falls."
Once the council gets its plans to the county, Panek says the group's "only goal for this year will probably be just to get an outdoor ring established where it might be possible to hold shows.
"It may take another year orso to get a good surface down in the ring. We have a wish list of things we want that is about four miles long and we have to decide among lots of competing needs."
Once plans are finalized, the equestrian facility will be built on land donated by the county and be part of the recreation and parks' Self-Help Program, whereby the governmentimproves rec areas by providing money that groups match with volunteer hours.
Although Panek says he and others would have liked to see the ring in place more than three years ago, he says he is sure 1992 will be the year the facility gets established.
"We hope to present the plans to the county within the next 90 days," he says. "Then,by the time the good weather is here, I hope we can get to work on getting the ring laid out and built."