LUMBERTON — Construction of horse stalls at the Southeastern North Carolina Agricultural Events Center off U.S. 74 just outside of Lumberton is about to begin.
A meeting of those involved in the stalls project, including state and local officials, horse association representatives, and other community members, will be held at the center located off U.S. 74 just outside of Lumberton on Friday to tweak and finalize design plans, according to state Rep. Charles Graham.
“We have been meeting for several months and have just about worked everything out,” Graham said. “I hope this is the last meeting and we can finally get construction started.”
The $590,000 project includes the construction of 100 stalls. The state did not allocate any money for the stalls, so the money had to be raised locally.
The Robeson County Board of Commissioners has donated $117,000 and the city of Lumberton has donated up to $30,000 in materials to be used for site work, as well as supplying no limit on labor and equipment costs. The bulk of the money, more than $400,000, has been raised through efforts of the North Carolina Horse Council and the North Carolina Horse Council Foundation.
According to Kent Yelverton, director of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service’s Property and Construction Division, once the state approves the final site plans, bids for construction will be put out. Yelverton did not say when he thinks the construction work will begin, but said it should be under way shortly.
“We’re working through the construction details now,” he said.
Supporters of the project contend that the barn and stalls will boost the economic impact of the center’s pavilion by accommodating larger, multi-day horse shows.
“This is definitely worthwhile,” Graham said. “It’s going to have a great economic impact on Robeson County. I think it is going to be outstanding.”
Yelverton has called the pavilion “very successful ” during its first three years. g.
“Now the next step is to support the facility (with the barn and stalls ),” he said. “More people will be drawn and the economic impact will be substantially more. There will absolutely be a payback on this project.”