CLANTON, Ala. (AP) — A site in Chilton County has been chosen as the home of the new Alabama Farm Center.
Plans call for the center to include a 5,000-seat air-conditioned arena, 150,000-square-foot (13,900-square-meter) exhibition building, and a 400-stall horse barn.
It could host livestock shows, rodeos, dog shows, festivals and other events, according to those planning the center. Planners say the events could bring about 800,000 to the area every year.
The Chilton County Industrial Development Board recently announced the 500-acre (200-hectare) site for the facility, Al.com reported .
“Chilton County’s central location, proximity to large cities and access to I-65 make this site ideal for the Alabama Farm Center,” said Jimmy Parnell, president of the Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation.
The Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation began exploring the economic feasibility of a large, multi-function event facility about two years ago.
The facility could bring as many as 400 jobs and as much as $55 million in annual economic impact, organizers said. The projected cost is $100 million to $150 million.
The foundation supports youth livestock shows, college scholarships and other agricultural education activities. It hired Markin Consulting of Minnesota to evaluate the potential of a regional livestock and event complex, organizers said in a news release.
“There are few comparable ag centers in the United States, so this is a great opportunity for Alabama and Chilton County to attract visitors from across the region and country,” Parnell said in the release. “As the Alabama Farmers Federation prepares to celebrate its centennial in 2021, our board of directors has cast a vision to make the Alabama Farm Center the premier livestock and event center in the South.”
Clanton Mayor Billy Joe Driver said the area “is sure to see an influx from the hospitality industry.”
“This project will be a catalyst for growth and development for us all,” he said.
Clanton is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Birmingham.