City envisions event center

Published 3:04 pm Tuesday, June 24, 2008

City leaders and horse lovers met recently to discuss the possibility of building an equestrian center in Columbiana.

More than 100 people have turned out for three meetings this spring to mull over the idea of creating a spot for horse shows and rodeos.

“Right now, we are just looking at the possibility of doing it,” said Mayor Allan Lowe.

Several months ago, the mayor decided to peruse the project, saying Columbiana’s central location makes it a perfect spot for an equestrian center.

Since then, the mayor, horse owners, Shelby County Cattleman’s Association members and county extension system officials have discussed the feasibility of building the center.

Lowe said the facility could be used not only for horse shows, but also for outdoor classrooms and natural trails as well as a larger site for the Shelby County Fair.

“We want a site that will serve many diverse recreational needs,” said Lowe. “We want a center that will appeal to a wide range of people.”

The mayor stresses plans for the facility are only in their infancy.

Lowe said much of the construction costs would have to be privately funded. He did say he would seek grants as well as support from local cities and the county though.

He said it was also important for the center to be privately owned, instead of by the city of Columbiana.

“When government gets involved, they usually mess things up,” said Lowe.

The group’s next meeting will be Aug. 4 at 6 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Columbiana.