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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

New horse arena a projected boon for Cloverdale

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A view of the dirt floor side of the 192,000-square-foot Crossroads Arena under construction at Cloverdale, scheduled for completion in January.
In a 10-minute conversation with him, it's easy for anyone to see that it's difficult for Don Gedert to contain his excitement about the new $6 million horse arena going up on Cloverdale's Stardust Road.

"This facility is flat going to put Putnam County on the map," Gedert, the Cloverdale Redevelopment Commission Director, said.

The sprawling 192,000-square-foot Crossroads Arena and Expo Center is said to be the first large, indoor venue of its type for showing horses in the state.

And Gedert might very well be right about its economic impact. A study commissioned by the American Quarter Horse Association showed that, on average, venues with 300 horses, like the ones the arena's owners hope to bring to town, generate about $1.25 million per weekend in revenue for the venue and surrounding businesses.

Multiply that by 40 weekends a year, and Cloverdale could see an extra $50 million a year flowing into the community.

Horse arena investors Steve Jackson, Jim Skinner and Brent McCammack hope to make Cloverdale a stop on the show horse circuit and tap into the vast market and wide array of people drawn to the industry.

Construction on the arena won't be done until after the new year, but Jackson and Skinner have already booked 25 shows in 2008, including the Shetland Pony Association World Championships in August.

And the project looks set to inspire growth in Cloverdale.

"We already have events that we know we don't have enough hotel rooms in town for," Jackson said.

Gedert predicts that the arena will cause "down stream growth" to blossom in the town -- bringing hotels, sit-down restaurants and other businesses to accommodate the 600 to 700 people who show up for every 300-horse show.

And who knows, maybe Putnam County could get its Applebee's after all, Gedert added.

The presence of the arena and continual influx of hundreds of tourists with a passion for horses could even support a tack shop, a western wear store and a trailer retailer, Gedert speculated.

The arena will also create about 12 fulltime jobs and some 40 part-time and hourly positions, Jackson said.

The arena facility itself is a massive structure. At two football fields long and one football field wide, it's one of the largest buildings in the county. And it's heated, so organizers can host events there regardless of the weather.

It has room to stable 500 horses and almost 70,000 square feet of space to show them.

Outside, the facility has water and electrical hookups for 200 campers and parking for 1,000 vehicles.

The arena's business model is not unlike the model Putnam Park Road Course in Mount Meridian uses -- a sort of "build it and they will come" concept.

Show horse groups and other equine-related associations will pay the owners for the use of the building. Jackson, Skinner and McCammack will just run the building -- the event organizers with the individual groups will be in charge of everything else.

One big edge the owners hope to give Crossroads over other arenas is its level of customer service.

Jackson said he's been to horse shows where the owners were nowhere to be found and the event organizers renting the facility were on their own to troubleshoot problems with the building. He believes Crossroads will be different.

Jackson and Skinner said they plan to take an active role in running the facility and hope to be on hand for every event in case problems arise.

Building the new facility has been an undertaking that required the help of the county and Cloverdale town government.

The section of Stardust Road that fronts the property is unpaved and the town and county had to use economic development money to widen and pave it.

The nearest water and sewer lines were a distance away, requiring the town of Cloverdale to take out more than $400,000 in bonds to make sure the facility has the right plumbing, Jackson and Skinner said.

And throughout the entire process, the business partners said they received nothing but cooperation.

Even the heavily-divided and raucous Cloverdale town council, infamous for it's 3-2 split, seems to be of one mind on the project.

Every vote the board has taken to approve funding and improvements for the facility has been 5-0, Jackson said with a smile.

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Can't wait for this facility to open !!! I'm hoping to see Clinton Anderson @ this Expo Center in the near future.

-- Posted by fourhorses on Sat, Nov 24, 2007, at 10:25 AM

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