Port panel asked to back stable|[11/22/05]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Vicksburg man asked the Warren County Port Commission for backing in his plans to build a horse show arena and stable megaplex adjacent to county-owned property near Ceres Industrial Complex.

Hearne Hathaway told commissioners his facility would be a climate-controlled metal building 250 feet in diameter with room on the 43 acres for two 100-foot practice facilities and parking space for 226 trailers, 144 of which would have RV hookups.

The complex at the Flowers site, which would be named Lil Bit O Texas, would host six to 12 horse shows annually, he said, with 492 stables, 40 of which would be climate-controlled stables capable of housing horses for a variety of clients. It will not be a public facility, he said.

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All sewage would be processed on site and used for irrigation and to control dust, the proposal said.

Hathaway’s proposal also stated such a facility would help spur creation of 4-H clubs and other riding-related programs in the Vicksburg Warren County School District and Hinds Community College.

Including land and improvements, Hathaway estimated the cost at $1.2 million. The facility would make money through show entry fees and stable rental rates, he said. The hope, he said, is to provide a new activity for area youth and attract nationally known competitions. He used events put on by the National Barrel Horse Association as an example.

&#8220I’m doing this so that underprivileged kids can ride horses. It’s something I’ve wanted to do my whole life; now I’m in the position to do it,” Hathaway said.

Although he has not yet purchased the tract from its private owner, Hathaway asked commissioners to consider two proposals for obtaining a right-of-way to access the planned facility, which sits between Ceres and Clear Creek Plantation.

One would entail building a road to county standards that would be maintained as a private road by Hathaway’s one-man operation. The other would be to purchase six to eight acres west of the proposed property.

In his proposal to the commission, Hathaway said he preferred the second option over the first because it would allow for additional parking and a land buffer.

David McDonald, District 1 supervisor and president of the Board of Supervisors, said he referred Hathaway, a San Antonio native, to the commission and was at the meeting. McDonald liked the concept.

&#8220It would be something that we have a need for in this community,” McDonald said.

Port Commission Chairman Johnny Moss agreed to take the proposal under advisement because only four members were present and commission attorney Mack Varner was not there.

Currently, two horse stable facilities operate in Warren County. One is Rainbow Farms on Mattingly Road, off U.S. 61 South. The other is Merit Hill Stable on Brabston Road in Bovina.

In other business, the commission: