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Weather delays ag arena progress
Manager: Construction three, four weeks behind
ag arena
Recent heavy rains have put a damper on site work that needs to be completed before Bulloch County’s Agriculture Arena, which is shown in this recent aerial photo, is open for business - photo by Special

Recent heavy rains have put a damper on site work that needs to be completed before Bulloch County’s Agriculture Arena is open for business.

Days of rain have made it impossible to stay on schedule, and “we are three to four weeks behind,” said Billy Springer, arena manager. “The good, dry weather we were looking for is just not happening.”

Inside, the final stages are being completed, but outside work is having to wait. Sewer lines cannot be installed yet due to the heavy rainfall, and the “place where the lines are going is swampy anyway, so it has to be dry,” he said.

Also, grading and paving walkways, driveways and parking lots is being put on hold, as well as landscaping, laying sod, seeding other grass areas and fencing, Springer said.

Final touches such as stalls, arena fencing and a footing system are being done this week. The arena floor is not concrete; a mixture of clay and sand is necessary to accommodate equine and livestock events.

Bathrooms and concession stands, as well as several huge fans, have been installed.

Springer isn’t sure when the project will be complete and ready to open, since progress is contingent upon the weather.

“I hate to commit to a firm date,” he said. “We’re still looking at late summer, early fall. The rain stopped all the outside work and ground us to a halt.”

In the meantime, more and more groups are expressing interest in using the facility.

In the past months as the arena site began taking shape, Bulloch County Manager Tom Couch said the Statesboro Kiwanis Club has asked about hosting its annual rodeo at the arena, and the Appaloosa Horse Club has made inquiries regarding shows.

I’m crying the blues. It needs to rain for all the farmers, but it needs to stay dry for this little corner on Langston Chapel Road.
Billy Springer, ag arena manager

Springer said Friday he has spoken to representatives of the Savannah Kennel Club, Georgia 4-H Equine School, the Horseman’s Quarter Horse Association, and Jarrod Creasy, who asked about hosting cattle and livestock shows at the arena.

Although touted as an agricultural arena, the facility is expected to be used for concerts, truck and tractor pulls, equipment expos, car shows and more, Couch said.

It will have a covered main arena, covered practice arena, covered walkways, over 200 stalls, washing and grooming areas, and RV campsites, some with electricity and water.

If only the rain would give them a break, Springer said.

“I’m crying the blues. It needs to rain for all the farmers, but it needs to stay dry for this little corner on Langston Chapel Road,” he said.

The arena is being built next to the Bulloch County Center for Agriculture office building and is being paid for by Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds from almost 20 years ago. It is located on Langston Chapel Road across from Langston Chapel Elementary and Middle schools.

 

Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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