LABA members hear Tryon Equestrian Resort report

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, September 3, 2014

By Claire Sachse
Members of the Landrum Area Business Association met Sept. 2 for their monthly meeting and heard a report presented by Robert Williamson, interim economic director for Polk County, on the projected economic impact of the Tryon International Equestrian Center on the area.
“What’s happening in Polk County is unprecedented and it’s not just Polk County,” Williamson said.
“Everybody we talk to developing this facility says that people will range 20 to 30 miles from there when they look for hotels, places to go, things to do and things to visit. So, it goes from Landrum to Lake Lure to Saluda and east. It’s a big area, with a big financial impact,” said Williamson.
According to statistics provided to LABA members in a report titled, “Are we ready?” Williamson provided an estimate that the 2,000 people who attended the last five-day event in July had an economic impact of $900,000 on the area.
The upcoming fall season will feature six events, and he says that the developer’s ultimate plan is to phase in a six and nine-month season. The longer event seasons draw people who end up purchasing property for homes, he said. The July event drew riders from as far away as California and Ontario and as close as Mill Spring.
“Now’s the time to think like entrepreneurs,” said Williamson. He asked LABA members to picture the Fourth of July celebration in Columbus with 8,000 to 10,000 people out on the town.
“Imagine that same crowd out every night during event season,” he said. He also asked business owners to reconsider being closed on Sundays and Mondays. During the event week, Monday and Tuesday are used for set up, Wednesday for practice and Thursday through Sunday for events, which end at 5 p.m.
Several challenges are on the horizon for developers and eventers, according to Williamson. They include sewer and other infrastructure, DOT way-finding signage in both North and South Carolina, nearby truck stops with diesel fuel, lack of lodging and traffic patterns from interstate exits.
In other business, the LABA will be hosting a scarecrow contest for downtown merchants, with scarecrows on display through the month of October. Merchants are asked to contact Ellen Henderson to participate.
The Landrum Lions Club will be accepting nominations for Citizen of the Year through Oct. 15. Contact Bob Walker at Landrum Insurance for details.
Caitlin Martin Cothran, Landrum’s city administrator, discussed the ongoing need for public restrooms and easy access to parking.
Overmountain Vineyards will host “A Taste of Our Carolina Foothills” on Sept. 28. Volunteers are needed for this wine and food tasting ticketed event, which will feature 14 restaurants, bakeries, vineyards and gift bags. More details are available by calling 828- 863-0523.

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