MALONE — The Franklin County Agricultural Society held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new indoor riding arena Friday morning at the Franklin County Fairgrounds.
“For the past few years, the board had always talked about having a new indoor arena, where horse shows and agricultural events could take place both during the week of the fair and throughout the been without the weather having a negative effect on the shows,” Fair said director Dave Gokey. “Several of the directors had been to many horse shows in New York and other areas and had seen indoor arenas that did just that. The shows could go on regardless of the weather.
In April 2021, the agricultural society applied for the Shutter Venue Operators Grant to help fund the new arena at the fairgrounds, 606 E. Main St. in Malone. The company was informed in November that it had received about half of the total project cost of $550,000.
“The building has been purchased and the contractor has been hired to construct the building starting in March of this year,” Gokey said. “A few months later, the Franklin County Agricultural Society Inc. has one of the largest and most modern indoor arenas in the Northeast.”
The remaining balance on the cost of the arena has been guaranteed by Community Bank, NA with the expectation that the building will be paid for by hosting successful fairs in the future in conjunction with fundraising through horse shows, the company said.
“Several other ideas were suggested as to how to use the building out of season to help increase revenue as well. One of our plans is to fill the building in winter with a cold room. By getting this building, we can now accommodate luxury or personal vehicles of all sizes,” Gokey said.
The company is now accepting reservations for winter storage, which can be arranged by calling 518-483-0720.
There is still groundwork to be done before the new arena can be considered a finished product. This can take around two weeks, with a target completion date of June 4.
“After talking with the other directors and supervisors in the city, we will soon have an official opening. Please don’t think this is the finished product. The structure is complete, but there is still earthwork like grading and land clearing to be done,” said Greg Patterson, president of the agricultural society. “We tried to keep it all in Franklin County as far as work goes. We went to local contractors to build the building, and given the cost of the building, we tried to keep everything local and keep the money in the county. We are very lucky to find (the general contractor) Akwesasne Mohawk Equipment because we couldn’t find anyone and we looked everywhere.