In 1995 the Legislature authorized the Washington State Horse Park legislation which states, in part: "Establishing a first-class Horse Park facility in Washington would meet important needs of the state's horse industry, attract investment, enhance recreational opportunities, and bring new exhibitors and tourists to the state from throughout the region and beyond. A unique opportunity exists to form a partnership between state, county, and private interests to create a major horse park facility that will provide public recreational opportunities and statewide economic and employment benefits."The history of how we got here is outlined below.
The approved State Capital Budget included $1,133,000 for acquisition of equestrian lands adjacent to Lewis & Clark State Park. State Legislature approved an additional $200,000 for an equestrian center planning study.
Initial site and alternatives are deemed unsuitable for equestrian use.
Washington State Parks Commission endorsed development of a legislative package for equestrian center development through a quasi-governmental entity.
State legislature enacted RCW 79A.30 stating “Establishing a first-class horse park facility in Washington would meet important needs of the state’s horse industry, attract investment, enhance recreational opportunities, and bring new exhibitors and tourists to the state from throughout the region and beyond.”
Several potential sites were evaluated and talks with Trendwest Resort Corporation, a subsidiary of Jeld-Wen, were initiated.
The Washington State Horse Park Authority announced plans to acquire 200 acres of land from Trendwest.
The State Parks Department approved the selection of the Trendwest property in Kittitas County. The State Legislature approved $45,000 to develop a draft Master Plan to serve as the basis for design and implementation for the 200 acre site, and to evaluate economic impacts.
Jeld-Wen proposed three options to the Horse Park Authority to address a shortfall in acquiring sufficient water rights. The only viable option was to accept a reduction in size of the dedicated Horse Park Reserve from 200 to 106 acres in exchange for water rights and other infrastructure improvements to be provided by Jeld-Wen. Trendwest committed to make land outside the Horse Park available for event use.
The city of Cle Elum approved expansion of its UGA boundary, Jeld-Wen and Lowes Enterprises obtained final permitting approvals, and construction of Suncadia Resort began.
The Authority Board commissioned Central Washington State University to update an earlier Economic Feasibility Study which continued to underscore the need for a first class competition facility in Washington. The Authority submitted a budget request to the Governor’s office for $3.5 million to facilitate completion of the land donation and develop the initial infrastructure and revenue-generating facilities so that the Park could begin operations. Following approval of the request, the Authority received $3.5 million from the State’s 2007 capital budget.
A master plan was created. It's development was based on input from all major horse disciplines who attended several focus group meetings. Site design, engineering, permitting, bid solicitation and other land use evaluations and negotiations took place.
Ground was broken in March and the first event was held in August.
Covered Arena was built.