County to OK study of horse facility


The Anne Arundel County Council is going along with a state request to study the feasibility of a proposed state horse park in Gambrills.

A resolution allowing the study, introduced at Monday's council meeting, could be voted on Dec. 5, said Edward R. Reilly, who will take over as County Council chairman at that meeting. It is expected to be approved.

The $75,000 study will be conducted and funded over two months by the Maryland Stadium Authority and the state Department of Business and Economic Development. It will weigh the cost, along with the effects on the environment and traffic, of establishing a horse park at the former dairy farm owned by the Naval Academy.

In October, the Stadium Authority board unanimously selected the 857-acre site in Gambrills over Cecil County's proposal to locate the horse park at Fair Hill. The authority's vote came despite reservations from Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens, a Democrat, about the project's potential cost.

Council members have expressed similar worries about possibly putting up millions of dollars in bonds to help pay for the park. But state officials said the horse park could generate $100 million a year, money that would trickle down to the county's coffers.

"It's a tossup," said Reilly, a Crofton Republican. "Not all the facts are on the table."

A recent poll of county residents by Anne Arundel Community College found that 44 percent supported a state horse park on the Navy property; 43 percent were opposed.

"It's a necessary step," County Councilman Ronald C. Dillon Jr., a Pasadena Republican, said of the feasibility study. "We need to find out what the numbers are so we can either proceed with caution or drop the idea altogether."

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