• $2M Brevard equestrian center sits mostly empty


    A new equestrian center cost Brevard County residents $2 million to build, but five years later, the stables are sitting mostly empty, WFTV found out.

    The center is located in Wickham Park near Melbourne.

    When the original wood stables were torn down, horse owners were told they would be able to return.

    "Me, as a horse owner, I have my own place, but I know a lot of people wanted to come back," said horse owner Barbara Chassee.

    However, that plan was complicated by a state statute preventing the county from renting the stables to individual horse owners.  

    County attorneys pointed out that renting the stables would require a competitive bid process and quite possibly a manager for this facility.

    "We try to do shows, and a variety of things what we haven't gone back to is can we go back to boarding with a change in the state law," said Brevard County Commissioner Chuck Nelson.

    Nelson said he would like to address the issue with the county's legislative delegation.
    In the meantime, the center has attracted a number of horse show; 26 of them this year.

    Chasee said she would like to see more.

    "Bringing in horse shows brings in money that people will spend on hotels and restaurants and shopping and what not," said Chasee.

    Others have also expressed interest.

    The Brevard County Sheriff's Office will soon be implementing a mounted patrol, and the University of Florida extension service is looking for a permanent home for some of its events. 

    However, Nelson said he would still like to reopen the stables to the public.

    "We promised the voters when we took those horse stables out that they could come back and we haven't done that," said Nelson.

    The county said 10,000 spectators have attended horse shows and events at the Wickham Park Equestrian Center in the past twelve months.

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