Town board supports indoor arena proposal

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— A proposed indoor riding arena that the developers say would be available for the community to rent got the endorsement of the Hayden Town Board Thursday night. Keith Barnett and Don Moraites met with the Town Board to request a letter of support for the project that they will include in their county special use permit application. Board members clearly supported the project with one stipulation: more landscaping.

"The board voted to draft a letter of support with the recommendation that I include a phased landscaping plan with my site plan," Barnett said. "They said they would suggest a phasing landscaping plan and one that wouldn't require a lot of new trees and things, but some upgrades. I just hope they don't have a grand illusion of landscaping around the arena. If that's the case, I won't be able to afford to run electricity to it."

Trustee Lorraine Johnson said she is very much in favor of an indoor area and that she didn't support the landscaping stipulation.

"I think a riding arena is a great idea and something the community can really use. It would be a big asset to the town," Johnson said. "I really don't think a lot of landscaping is needed but we didn't have a site plan to look at, so I wasn't sure on how the actual area would be situated on the property. Landscaping would be nice when you drive up, but what kind of landscaping are you going to put around a large quonset hut?"

Barnett, his wife Diane and their partner Moraites said they want to build the arena because the three noticed a void in indoor places to ride horses during the long winter months.

The three purchased the quonset hut, formerly used as the Hayden High School gym and an ice rink in Craig, from the city of Craig. Approximately 100-by-204 feet, Barnett believes it is a perfect space for an indoor riding arena.

The arena would be located on the Barnetts' property just outside of the Hayden city limits near the Haven. The property is 15 acres and is surrounded by vacant land owned by Seneca Coal Co.

Barnett said he would like to offer the arena to the community to be rented as a place for not only riding horses, but for roping practice, 4-H events and as an overflow for the county fair.

The group will need county Planning Commission approval and county commissioner approval for the special use permit before requesting a building permit.

"This should be a neat thing," Barnett said. "We're waiting on the planning commission for a date we can present this project. After meeting with the planning commission, we'll go forward with pursuing a building permit."


-- To reach Bryna Larsen call 871-4205 or e-mail blarsen@amigo.net

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