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Equestrain Center project completed at Tropical Park

Equestrain Center project completed at Tropical Park

Equestrain Center project completed at Tropical Park

Celebrating the Equestrian Center dedication are (l-r) Parks director Jack Kardys, Sweetwater Mayor Jose Diaz, Miami-Dade Commission chair Rebeca Sosa, Miami Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz and Commissioner Javier Souto.

Equestrain Center project completed at Tropical ParkaA celebration officially opening the Ronald Reagan Equestrian Complex at Tropical Park on Oct. 11 marked completion of an $8.67 million project designed to bring world-class equestrian activities to Miami-Dade.

“The new facilities are absolutely stunning and will mark a major step forward for the county in hosting international rodeos, livestock trade shows and equestrian events,” said Miami-Dade Commissioner Javier D. Souto.

The District 10 Commissioner who has spearheaded the center’s development over the past decade was recognized for his tireless efforts by his peers led by commission chair Rebeca Sosa and Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz who presented Souto with an engraved plaque for his dedicated efforts to build the new Equestrian Center

A permanent bronze plaque recognizing Commissioner Souto’s commitment will be installed at the entrance of the complex.

“This completed facility will allow us to bring in large-scale events to the park, attracting international participants and spectators,” Souto said. “That in turn will create a tremendous economic boost for the community because those same visitors patronize area hotels, car rental companies, restaurants, retail shops and other businesses.”

A contingent of mounted horsemen helped mark the occasion by parading in the newly completed 55,000-square-foot ring where a crowd of more than 200 aficionados and county officials gathered to mark the occasion.

Watching her husband, Santiago, ride one of the couple’s stabled Andalusian stallions, Nancy Quintero said, “This is a wonderful place for those, like ourselves, who have both an economic stake and equestrian love involved in such a magnificent setting.”

The Equestrian Center annually plays host to Miami-Dade’s three-day International Agriculture, Cattle and Horse Show, drawing scores of equine dealers and exhibitors throughout Latin American countries, in addition to livesstock sellers and traders. The show includes daily events for family entertainment as well as competitions among show horse breeders.

“This is a project for generations to come,” declared Parks Department director Jack Kardys who noted that, in addition to 36 equestrian and livestock events each year, the center hosts a variety of programming from dog shows to concerts and parties “so that all can enjoy this spectacular facility.”

Opening of the new structure adds two new covered rings, providing 3.7 total acres of overhead-lighted space for exhibitions, competitions and performances under a single roof, cooled by 10-foot diameter revolving ceiling fans.

In addition, the existing 267 stalls of the adjoining stable area are now connected to the center by lighted, covered walkways. Nearby grounds have been recently landscaped and striping has been added to the north parking lot. Portable bleachers provide indoor seating for up to 5,000 spectators.

Developing Miami-Dade County’s potential to serve as an international gateway to domestic markets in the agriculture industry was Souto’s goal when partnering with the Miami-Dade Park and Recreation Department to produce the first-ever Miami International Agriculture and Cattle Show in 2008, now preparing for its sixth show to promote Florida’s agriculture industry, and provide beef producers with international commerce opportunities. In additional to livestock trading and equestrian competitions, the show offers special events for children and family entertainment.

Funding for the improvements was provided through the Building Better Communities bonding program.

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