Boots, jeans and a lasso.
Western-style riding could come to Wellington, complementing the English style-riding for which the village has become well known the world over.
A conceptual idea proposed for the K-Park property at the intersection of SR 7 and Stribling Way would be a “world-class resort,” potentially including a veterinarian training facility and hotel, according to Jack Van Dell, a local jewelry store owner who presented the proposal to the village council Monday.
Reached today, Van Dell, a spokesman for the group putting together the plan, declined to name who else was involved or comment beyond his presentation.
The group is looking for an official letter of support from the council, a matter it would vote on during a council meeting, perhaps in coming weeks.
The village owns K-Park, which Alderman Farms leases for organic farming and Palm Beach State College several years ago wanted for a campus.
“It brings to Wellington a whole different group of people,” Van Dell told the council Monday. “They’re real American cowboy types.”
The venue would be styled after riding disciplines of the American Quarter Horse, a fast and heavily muscled horse.
The proposal includes an air-conditioned stadium that would seat up to 5,000 people and be built to hurricane shelter standards. Van Dell ticked off a list of events it could house: circuses, rodeos, concerts, graduations, trade shows.
Also: a 130-room, suite-style hotel; middle- to high-end shops and restaurants; a veterinary training school; barns with about 500 stables; and a riding school.
“We’re dealing with a Western group of people, who require different clothing, different boots,” Van Dell said, adding that Wellington already has the English riding disciplines in polo and dressage. “Right now we have half a circle. These people are a completely different group than we are used to having. They are going to extend the season for us.”
The council generally seemed warm to the idea.
“This is not competing with anything else we’re doing in the village,” Mayor Bob Margolis said.
Councilwoman Anne Gerwig said she had mostly financial questions: “How much risk are we going to be bearing?”
“They are very complicated questions,” Van Dell responded. “What we would like to do is get started by having you agree with us in this letter of intent to give us time to go around and find answers … to do more due diligence.”
It appears Van Dell’s group would buy the 67 acres, appraised at $10 to $11 million a year ago. Van Dell asked not only for a commitment from the council but also help from the village with its Tallahassee lobbyist and in securing grant money that could be available on the state or federal levels.