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Frederick County Not Picked for Horse Park

Susan Nicol
Frederick News Post

(8/24) Local officials said Tuesday night they were disappointed to learn that the Maryland Horse Park won't be in Frederick County.

The Maryland Stadium Authority announced that it is looking at sites in Cecil County and Annapolis to develop for equine activities.

Frederick County had submitted a proposal to the state to put the horse park on property owned by Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg.

The proposed park would include a museum, an indoor arena with seating for 5,000, six outdoor show rings, 1,200 stalls and outdoor amphitheater.

Emmitsburg Mayor Jim Hoover said' he was disappointed that the state decided to look elsewhere. "The park could have been an economic burst for the northern part of Frederick County" Mr. Hoover said. "I thought Emmitsburg would have been a good site."

Likewise, Commissioner Mike Cady said he was disappointed that the county's offer was turned down.

He said he was impressed by the proposal submitted by the county's Office of Economic Development. "They did a wonderful job," Mr. Cady said.

Del. Rick Weldon, R-Frederick, said while it would have been beneficial for the park to have been located here, he under-stands why officials are looking where they are.

The 5,613-acre property in Cecil County is already owned by the state, while the site in Anne Arundel County is owned by the state and the county.

The ownership of the land was just too hard to overlook, he said. Sen. David Brinkley, R, Frederick, said he also thought Frederick County had a lot to offer for the project.

"I congratulate Colby Ferguson for the excellent project he put together in such a short period," Mr. Brinkley said.

Mr. Ferguson, an agriculture business specialist, led the fight to get the state to pick Frederick.

Del. Paul Stull, R-Frederick, said while he pushed for the Mount St. Mary's property, he also understands the state's decision to shy away from it. He said it would be hard for officials to negotiate for a lease on one property instead of working with land it already owns.

Other sites that fell short were in Carroll, Harford and Wicomico.

In Annapolis, a 2,617-acre site that includes the former Crownsville Hospital, the Anne Arundel county Fairgrounds and a water park owned by the city is proposed.

The site will be selected Sept. 12.

Once the site is chosen, a plan for the complex will be developed and submitted to the General Assembly during the 2006 session.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.