Tryon Equestrian plans roundabout at Pea Ridge Road exit

Published 1:42 am Wednesday, April 8, 2015


TIEC requests state funding for relocation of portions of Pea Ridge and John Sheehan Roads

By Leah Justice

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) is currently working with the N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) to reconfigure the U.S. 74 Pea Ridge Road exit to include a roundabout and relocating portions of Pea Ridge and John Sheehan Roads.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met briefly Tuesday morning, April 7 to approve a resolution endorsing the relocation and TIEC’s request for state funding.

TIEC Managing Partner Mark Bellisimo sent a request to N.C. Senator Ralph Hise and Rep. Chris Whitmire requesting any available funding through the state to assist with the road relocation.

“We have invested approximately $50,000,000 to date on the site and anticipate this total to exceed $100,000,000,” Bellisimo said in his letter to Hise and Whitmire. “Additionally, we will create more than 500 direct jobs for our project and thousands more indirectly to support the project. Because of this substantial investment, we are requesting any available funding to assist with the road relocations.”

Commissioners made it clear during Tuesday’s meeting there will be no county funding towards the road relocation. TIEC is seeking any available assistance from state discretionary funds with TIEC funding the rest of the project.

Bellisimo said TIEC has been able to consolidate additional property on the other side of John Sheehan Road and Pea Ridge Road to provide the area needed to construct a hotel and retail area to support the facility.

Road relocation plans include changing the entrance of John Sheehan Road, where TIEC’s current equestrian park’s entrance is, from Pea Ridge Road to the on ramp of U.S. 74. The plans also include a roundabout and relocating a portion of Pea Ridge Road. The project is estimated at $1.1 million.

“We anticipate generating over 200,000 additional room nights in the immediate vicinity and the hotel will allow some of this demand to be met on site,” Bellisimo said. “However, in order to accomplish this, we need to relocate (a) portion of John Sheehan Road and Pea Ridge Road. We have worked closely with the NCDOT District Office to develop a plan that is consistent with their design requirements and that meets our needs. The estimated cost of the road improvement is $1,100,000.”

TIEC is a 1,400-acre multi-purpose equestrian center and resort located off Pea Ridge Road directly off U.S. 74 in the Green Creek Township of Polk County. Polk County’s resolution states that TIEC will likely become the largest facility of its type in the southeastern United States pending adequate infrastructure to reach its potential.

TIEC currently features five competition equestrian rings and a stadium arena that can seat more than 6,000 spectators. TIEC is planning to host 32 weeks of horse show competition from April-October.