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July 3, 2012
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Commissioners to consider ERC expansion plan

At their regular Tuesday meeting July 10, Eagle County commissioners will consider a $3 million expansion plan for the Eagle River Center.

The plan is for improvements deemed critical to attract large horse shows to the area, including covered horse stalls and an enclosed warmup arena.

At a meeting July 2, commissioners expressed a desire to be wary of committing to the ERC expansion without considering the overall plan for the fairgrounds property.

"We want to be careful we don't build these facilities only to discover down the road that they're not in the best place and need to be moved," said Commissioner Sara Fisher.

According to Jan Miller of Eagle County Facilities, the expansion plan proposal has been the subject of intense review for months as the county looked at ways to maximize the potential of the Eagle River Center.

"We know horse shows would love to bring people to Eagle and those shows would stimulate the local economy and bring a lot of people here," said Miller. "We have to weigh the benefits of the potential horse show business against the costs."

In that vein, the county recently hired a renown consultant - Bob Kiser of Kiser Arena Specialists - to evaluate the Eagle River Center and give advice on the facility's expansion plans. Kiser has consulted for more than 2,000 horse show arenas worldwide and he spent three days in the area last week.

"I think they have a very nice facility here. I think if they can get an expansion program going, they could draw a lot of horse shows here," said Kiser.

Kiser noted the center's location - adjacent to Interstate 70 and in the center of the state - is one of its biggest attributes.

Kiser said the county is fortunate because the fairgrounds site offers an expansive area to address the facility needs. "They have a lot of space here, but it is a challenge to get it positioned right to make the best use of this land," he said.

The July 10 commissioner meeting is open to the public and can also be watched live on line on ecotv 18 by going to www.eaglecounty.us/Communications/ecotv18/.

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The VailDaily Updated Jul 3, 2012 01:02PM Published Jul 3, 2012 01:00PM Copyright 2012 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.