An ambitious horse and commercial development in Franklin City, Idaho is now making its way through the government approvals process while targeting a groundbreaking date this summer. To be known as “The Horse Station at Cache Valley” the project will include a hotel, horse stabling facilities, an equine veterinary center, indoor and outdoor arenas, retail stores, restaurants and condominiums. Earnest Bleinberger of Strategy 5 LLC is the principal developer of the complex. “The project has evolved out of a grassroots desire and need for year round horse training and events facilities,” said Bleinberger. “A group located in Franklin County approached me in 2008 to inquire whether something like that would be feasible.” A feasibility study revealed no stand-alone facility like the one proposed would likely succeed by itself. “But if a whole number of synergistic development components were brought to the same location then the mutual support and activity between the projects would tip the feasibility scale,” Bleinberger said. He said the horse training and events facilities have two indoor arenas planned and various outdoor facilities, too. “At one level it could be used by local horse owners interested in having access to facilities for riding and training and so forth. At a higher level, we envision professional rodeo events and horse shows in the equine facilities. “The hotel would serve tourists coming through Cache Valley but also have a capacity to provide overnight stabling nearby for horses. There are a lot of people traveling with horses through this region. The restaurants will be both locally serving and tourist serving.” He said plans also include an equine veterinary center he hopes will be affiliated with university partners. Bleinberger said the commercial elements of the project would provide Franklin City a village center with retail businesses and services that right now are only available in Preston or Logan. “From the start it was put together as primarily an economic development project so those benefits to the city of Franklin and the surrounding area are significant as are implications for small business development and job creation.” Bleinberger said he is on the agenda for the Franklin City Council’s April 5 meeting to present what is called a preliminary plat. “We are moving pretty well through the approval process and once that is complete we would hope to be breaking ground on at least some of the horse infrastructure this summer.” He said the overall “build out” of the project in its entirety will be somewhere within a three-to-five year time frame.
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