Grand Strand plans for regional equestrian center - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Grand Strand plans for regional equestrian center

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A new sports tourism attraction could be on its way to the beach.

The Grand Strand has seen multi-million dollar facilities for baseball, softball, and basketball but now it's time to get horses out of the stable. Horry County and City of Myrtle Beach leaders are breaking in the idea of a new regional equestrian facility.

Area leaders are having discussions to add an equestrian center to the list of sports tourism venues in the Myrtle Beach area. This would be a center just miles away from the beach that will feature all types of horse related events to rope in people and their wallets. The center would feature competitions, rodeos and even bull riding.

There currently are similar venues in Camden and Robeson County, but leaders think this regional facility is bound to be successful since 14 million people travel to Myrtle Beach each year.

Horry County Councilman Brent Schulz says an equestrian center could tap into the interest of different tourists to make them more interested in visiting the Grand Strand.

"You'll see competition, but a lot of people who come here own horses," explained Schulz. "And they never bring them down here, but we have if we can get this facility pulled off it'll be another venue that they can enjoy."

The facility is planned to span across 150 acres, but is expected to bring in a much larger economic impact. Schulz says a recent CCU study discovered that an equestrian center could draw about $75 million to the beach. That's a figure those invested in the horse related industry say no one should turn down.

"It would help everybody," said Rock Smith, who owns a horse related business. "Motels, restaurants, people like us who are in the horse business and everything else it would draw a lot more interest in this area."

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