500-stall, 10-ring equestrian facility planned in Green Creek

Published 12:36 pm Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A new, massive equestrian facility that could have a far-reaching impact on Polk County is being planned for the Green Creek area.

Roger Smith, manager of Green River Farms, LLC, has applied for a conditional use permit through the Polk County Zoning Board of Adjustments for 95.76 acres purchased off Hwy. 9 in Green Creek.

The application for a conditional use permit says the request is for a non-profit equestrian event facility on the property, which is in Polk County&squo;s MU (multiple use) district.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The request states plans for five stables with 100 stalls each, 10 riding rings (five show rings and five warm-up rings), and a steeplechase race track. It also includes a recreational vehicle park, containing 20 to 30 hook-ups, to be used in connection with the equestrian event facility, a portable office building to be used at show and race events, and various riding trails.

By comparison, the Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE) has 300 stalls and three lighted show rinks.

Based on the permit application, the proposed new facility is designed to host very large equestrian events that would attract large numbers of participants.

The facility would greatly add to the county&squo;s equestrian event infrastructure and its reputation as a leading equestrian area in the nation. Polk County was recently named to &dquo;Western Horseman&dquo; magazine&squo;s top 10 horse communities in the country, recognition that was garnered even before plans for the new facility became public.

The proposed site for the new facility is on the eastern side of Hwy. 9 about 1.5 miles south of the intersection with Landrum Road and slightly north of the intersection with Collinsville Road.

According to county tax records, the total land area includes a tract of 92.45 acres and an adjacent 3.33-acre property. The land, which had a combined tax value of $231,395, was reportedly sold to Green River Farm, LLC by Polk Partners LLC. Polk Partners previously bought the land from Earl Thompson, according to county records. Details of the sale to Green River Farms, including the price, were not obtained prior to press time Tuesday.

Polk County officials say the zoning board of adjustment likely will hear the request for a conditional use permit after July 8. The zoning board is charged with determining that the proposed land use will be in harmony with the surrounding area, not injure property values and not endanger public health and safety.