With the Charlotte Knights (Class AAA; International League) slated for a 2014 move to a new Uptown ballpark, York County will begin planning the future of Knights Stadium.
York County owns the Fort Mill, S.C. home of the Knights. With no debt left on the facility and lots of land surrounding the facility — remember, at one point it was eyed as expandable for a Major League Baseball team — York County actually has some good options and could unlock much value unrelated to baseball.
One potential use that would reclaim much of the ballpark and the surrounding area: an equestrian center combined with a county fairgrounds. York County has already researched the market potential for such a facility; look for it to be discussed in coming months. From the Enquirer Herald:
One possibility would be an agri-tourism center with an emphasis on events related to horses. In 2007, the county agreed to invest up to $100,000 in hospitality tax money to explore the possibility of such a center, and the research still is on track.
Early plans included an arena for equestrian events as a key component. The idea is to capitalize on a thriving horse culture in the county as well as to attract horse owners from other areas with easy access for trailers from I-77.
Surveys show that York County has one of the highest horse populations in the state. The surveys also estimate that the county rakes in more than $20 million a year in horse-related business.
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