Amidst local controversy, the Baltimore County Agricultural Center on Shawan Road in Cockeysville officially began construction on a new outdoor riding arena earlier this month. Currently, the New York-based Saratoga Warhorse Foundation runs an equine therapy program for veterans out of the indoor arena and horse barn already at the facility. The current indoor arena and barn cost nearly $3 million and opened last year. The new equine project is slated at $2.5 million.
The Ag Center is run and funded primarily by Baltimore County, which is why some feel spending $2.5 million on an outdoor arena is uncalled for. Seventy-five percent of the proposed construction budget would be coming from the State’s Open Space Program while 25% is proposed to come from Baltimore County’s capital budget. Some locals feel that by expanding the horse-related part of the facilities, the Ag Center is loosing its focus on general agriculture and education.
Those in favor of the project point out that the Maryland horse industry generates $512 million annually and provides 28,000 full-time and part-time jobs. Funds generated from use of the arena could go right back into the Ag Center and into the County and State’s economy. Horses are also a very large part of the Maryland agricultural community.
If you would like to share your opinions on the construction of the outdoor arena at the Ag Center, please email The Equiery at firstname.lastname@example.org.