Virginia Horse Center improvements plan approved

The Rockbridge County Board of Supervisors approved a capital improvements plan at the Virginia Horse Center that includes a plan to develop youth sports fields and a tractor pull area at the park, on the northeast side of Va. 39.

A soccer/lacrosse field would go in the vicinity of the existing tractor pull grounds. The new tractor pull area would give a more permanent home to the Rockbridge Farm Bureau’s tractor pull, an event that draws thousands of spectators. A 131-space parking lot and terraced seating for spectators would also be constructed. Another ball field could potentially be developed adjacent to the first one. No lighting is planned for the ball field, and the parking area would be gravel.

The plan calls for a blanket usage agreement between the Horse Center and Rockbridge County, with sub-agreements among the various other organizations. Ongoing maintenance would have to be addressed in the agreements.

John Nicholson, VHC’s executive director, also on Monday requested permission to move forward with a capital improvements plan by taking out a $450,000 loan with Cornerstone Bank. Excess proceeds from a 1 percent lodging tax instituted last year would be used to pay back the loan over a five-year period.

A revised capital improvements plan presented by Nicholson calls for spending $25,000 for water pipes assessment and repairs, $20,000 for well water usage for ring maintenance and dust suppression, $150,000 for competition surface maintenance and renovation, $65,000 for roadway repair and renovation, $50,000 for facility painting, $25,000 for stall repair, $15,000 for cyber renovation and expansion, and $100,000 for general maintenance and contingency.

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