Many Bulloch County voters have waited 18 years for construction of the long-awaited multipurpose arena on Langston Chapel Road.
It is happening. Materials are on site, the area is being prepared and Thursday, June 1, Bulloch County Commissioners will host a groundbreaking ceremony to kick off construction.
Billy Hickman, head of the multipurpose arena committee that was formed in 1998, said he hopes for a large crowd at the groundbreaking ceremony, which will be held at 10:30 a.m. at 44 Arena Boulevard, a road connecting Hwy. 301 South to Langston Chapel Road, where the facility will be located.
The arena is expected to exceed any similar facility in the area and be comparable to such arena facilities as the one at the Georgia National Fairgrounds in Perry, he said. It will be used not only for livestock events, but for a multitude of other events such as car and truck shows; trade shows; concerts, exhibitions and more as well as rodeos, horse shows, kennel club shows, and other entertainment, he said.
The arena facility will be situated on 25 acres with a four-acre pond 1.5 miles south of Statesboro. The main covered arena will be 54,000 square feet, with a 125’ by 250’ portable performance ring and bleachers with 3,000 seats on one side.
The practice arena will be covered as well, which is a string attraction for the facility, Hickman said. It will be 38,500 square feet, with a ring the same size as the performance arena that can be configured for other uses. It will have no seats.
The livestock barn will have 218 stalls, 10 feet square with 7’3” solid wood dividers and sliding doors with bars. There will be 20 wash bays and ample access to electrical sockets for grooming tools.
The barn will be connected to the arenas by covered walkways. Parking will be plentiful, and there will be 53 RV campsites with full utilities, as well as more space for self-supporting or dry camps, he said.
Not only will the arena be used for paying events, it will be a place where the county’s Stirrup Some Fun Therapeutic Riding Program and other recreational events maybe held, he said.
Bulloch County residents voted almost 18 years ago for Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) to be used to construct an agricultural facility. Due to various reasons, county leaders postponed the second and third planned phases of the facility; the project was to include a “one-stop shop” for agricultural services offices, a conference center, and the arena.
The Bulloch Center for Agriculture office building was constructed, but the other phases were put on hold until now, when construction preparations have begun for the arena.
The multipurpose facility committee is soliciting major donors for naming the facility, Hickman said.
The public is invited to the groundbreaking celebration, and refreshments will follow the official groundbreaking, he said.
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.