By Justin Seward
Linda Kraft and Nikki Nickolson introduced the proposed indoor agriculture/riding facility in Irvine to Cypress County council on March 23.
The project is at the stage where an application has to be sent in for the Community Facility Enhancement matching grant for $1 million by June 15.
“The hope for this would be to have an indoor riding facility in the Irvine area,” said Nickolson.
“This is kind of our last thing on our list to do as far as applying for this grant goes.”
The Irvine Ag Society approved the usage of the land and the collaborators were looking for the gifting of the land and payment deferrals for subdivision from the county.
“We’re going into this with no money,” said Kraft.
“And we’re not looking for money from the community or anywhere until this grant has been approved. We don’t want to handle that and have this go through.”
Prairie Rose Public Schools will be the main partner in the programming and the financing.
The project would be approximately a 100-by-250-by-18 foot multi-use facility for the indoor riding, school program.
“The demand for an Ag facility in this area is huge,” said Nickolson.
“Unfortunately, we do not have a public facility available anywhere. And on top of that with Linda’s work, now we have school programs thriving off of this and we’re just finding that we really need a place to be.”
Bussing has become a factor as it costs $114 round trip from Irvine School to Forsyth Ranch for the equine program.
“If we had a building closer to the school, we could eliminate that cost plus implement a whole bunch more programs. We could continue to expand the Equine Academy, the equestrian program, equine interaction therapy as well as offer this to the community for a place to be as well.”
County Coun. Robin Kurpjuweit asked if there have been any conversation between the Irvine group and the Dunmore Equestrian Society who want to build an indoor facility too.
“We have talked,” said Kraft.
“The Dunmore project has been stemming for five, six years now. We have worked with Dunmore previously for other things. We’ve never been asked in regard to the indoor facility. What my goal in scope here would be this facility for school, would be for kids to be walking over from theschool. So from K-to-9, this would be a Prairie Rose in-school facility all day long.”
Kraft added this not about competing with Dunmore.
“We 100 per cent feel there is a need for both,” said Kraft.
There are two spots east of the Irvine Sports Complex that are being considered.
Land usage option 1,which is adjacent to Frederick Avenue, is closer to the roadway, power and potentially water and gas. It’s farther away from the rodeo grounds and would have access to the north side door for concession when events are hosted.
Option 2 is closer to the rodeo grounds, but possibly could be farther away from power, water, gas as well as the north side of the complex for the concession.
Both options have good parking, road access and space for pens to be built.
Survey results are limited to 40 responses until a payment is made. Of those 40 responses, 39 said yes to the facility.
There were 234 respondents to the survey as of March 23.
The group will create a business plan and bring back to council in the future.