June 2006

The Maryland Stadium Authority on May 10 released a feasibility study for a proposed Maryland Horse Park and Agricultural Education Center in Gambrills.

Started last year, the study includes a summary of benefits to the agriculture industry, a master plan and facility design concept, an environmental review, an operation and management plan, an economic impact study, a traffic study, a cost estimate and a funding proposal.

The architectural consultant team consisted of Richter Cornbrooks Gribble (RCG), Gralla Architects, Edaw Inc. and RK&K Engineers. RCG is a local architect with expertise in the design of public assembly facilities, including museums and visitor centers. Gralla Architects is a nationally recognized equestrian architectural firm that worked on the WestWorld of Scottsdale Equestrian Park Redevelopment, the Oklahoma State Fair Park Rehabilitation and Expansion, and Kansas State University’s Equine Education and Multi-Use Activities Center. Edaw Inc. is a site and landscape architect experienced with horse parks and large environmental land use projects. RK&K evaluated the infrastructure, including traffic and environmental issues.

This team assisted the Maryland Horse Park Selection Committee in evaluating proposed sites for a potential horse park, performing a technical analysis of all proposed site locations. The consultant team confirmed the architectural program, prepared a conceptual layout of the facility on the Gambrills site and drew up the conceptual plans necessary for estimating project costs. Project cost estimates of approximately $114 million were prepared by Heery International.

The economic impact study prepared by KPMG, LLP projects that $122 million in total annual spending and $9.344 million in annual state and local taxes would be generated by the project. Based on Heery International’s
estimated costs, this amount is projected to be sufficient to pay for the project and generate a net revenue gain for Anne Arundel County and the state.

The Maryland Horse Park would host national-level show jumping competitions and other show ring sports, as well as steeplechases, events, endurance rides, dressage competitions and a variety of other equestrian activities for all levels of skill and interest. The feasibility study also includes a proposed Agricultural Education Center recognizing the history of the Navy Dairy Farm.

Maryland Stadium Authority Chairman Robert L. McKinney said, “We are very pleased with the time, effort and thoroughness that these consultants invested in producing the feasibility study. We look forward to receiving comments from state and local officials and community leaders.”

Maryland Agriculture Secretary Lewis R. Riley agreed, noting, “We believe that a Maryland Horse Park would have positive local economic impact and will benefit many aspects of the state’s agricultural economy, land preservation efforts and the quality of life for a broad range of Marylanders. Horses are an important part of Maryland’s past, its present, and – we are certain through initiatives such as a horse park – its future.”