5 DEC 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aiken City Council Will Review Pending New Location for The Aiken Steeplechase Association [ASA]
Aiken, SC – The Aiken Steeplechase Association [ASA], has conducted 54 spring and 28 fall race events in Aiken, drawing thousands of spectators for each running. The spring and fall events are seasonal highlights contributing to the quality of life in Aiken and the entire Central Savannah River Area.
ASA has worked very closely with the Aiken Horse Park Foundation to facilitate a seamless transition from its current home at Bruce’s Field to a new location. After careful scrutiny and due diligence, ASA recently came to the City and shared its vision for a new location on the eastern edge of Aiken bordered by Richland Avenue, Old Wagener Road, and Rudy Mason Parkway. The relocation of the Steeplechase will further expand opportunity in Aiken’s all-important equine industry as the Aiken Horse Park will be free to complete the development of the historic horse-district property as a world-class equestrian venue.
ASA’s new approximately 140-acre location will open up opportunities to a part of our City that naturally fits our growth while ensuring that race fans can have easy access to this facility and to our Downtown. It will also enable many more people in the CSRA and beyond to enjoy both steeplechase races and other events as the vision of the ASA to expand their facilities is realized. ASA considered numerous possible locations during its search, many well outside of Aiken’s city limits. In the end, ASA and City leaders agreed that the best outcome was to keep Aiken’s premier tourism attraction in its namesake City.
The City Council will consider providing $1.5 million to aid with the purchase of the property. The proposed one million dollars [$1 million] will be in the form of a grant from the City to ASA and $500,000 will be in the form of a loan that will be repaid to the City. The suggested funds committed to this partnership are a combination of Accommodations Tax proceeds, legally limited to allocation in support of tourism, and Capital Projects Sales Tax funds approved by the voters for the preservation of green space in the community.
This item is still pending and will be before City Council as an ordinance for first reading and a public hearing on Monday, December 9, at 7 pm in City Council Chambers, located at 214 Park Avenue, SW.
City Manager’s Office
City of Aiken