Controversial hotel in works for old polo stadium site - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Controversial hotel in works for old polo stadium site

WELLINGTON, FL (WFLX) - The old Palm Beach Polo stadium is getting a facelift to bring dressage to Wellington, but it's what may be going around it that some don't agree with.

Village of Wellington officials say dressage, which is known as ballet for horses, is one of the missing pieces Wellington's equestrian community needs.

"Currently, we have Polo, and we've got the 100 jumper venues, and our interest is to expand the equestrian venues," Bob Basehart of Growth Management for the Village said.

Basehart showed Fox 29 the plans for 96-acre property for the Equestrian Village on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Pierson Road.

The blueprints layout plans for the facility that include a covered arena, but on the corner of the plans, there are designated areas for a new hotel, restaurants and other retail shops.

Basehart said the hotel, which is proposed to be more than 60 feet, may serve as a part time condominium for visitors.

The Wellington Equestrian Preservation Alliance agrees with the village needing the addition of dressage, but alliance doesn't agree with putting hotels, restaurants and more on the street. "I oppose it because it's commercial and it's not allowed in the equestrian preserve," Michael Whitlow of the Wellington Equestrian Preserve Alliance said.

Whitlow of the Alliance says other than the fact the land is a preserve, adding this type of mixed-use facility wouldn't hurt the bottom line for other businesses in the village. "I think that it will materially hurt existing businesses in other parts of Wellington who struggle through six months of the year for the payoffs during the show season," he said.

Ex-Polo Player and owner of Idlewild furniture store, John Grimes likes the idea of bringing the hotel and commercial activity to the facility, which sits across the street from his business. "I mean bringing people to this international facility it will be important that there are facilities here to house them," Grimes said. "A hotel would accommodate that and I think it would be a terrific thing."

The proposal will be discussed during a public hearing on January 4 at the Village Council chambers. After that it is up to the village council to decide whether the hotel and retail shops are able to be constructed.

The Village predicts the project would be finished by the 2013 show season if it is approved.

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