Prince George's County parks officials said a plan to sell the grounds of the county's Equestrian Center and Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro will make future renovations and other upgrades easier to complete.
Anita Pesses, spokeswoman for the Prince George's County Department of Parks and Recreation, said the facilities, while owned by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, sat on property owned by Prince George's County, meaning improvements to the grounds such as parking lot maintenance had to be coordinated with the county.
Pesses said she didn't know why it was originally set up this way, given that the agreement was reached more than a decade ago.
“We have $21 million worth of facility and improvements already, but we had all of this on land that we didn't own,” Pesses said.
According to a resolution passed out of the County Council's Public Safety and Fiscal Management Committee on July 9, the county has proposed the sale of the 39-acre equestrian center and arena grounds to M-NCPPC, of which the county Department of Parks and Recreation is a subsidiary, for $3.2 million. Floyd Holt, deputy director for the county's Office of Central Services, said that since 1994, the planning commission had leased the property for $10 per year.
“We're just trying to clean up ownership,” Holt said at the meeting. “In 1994, Park and Planning built the building, and they did all the work to manage and maintain it. ... They have renovations planned, so we want to be able to say, 'Now it's yours, so do what you need to do.'”
The deal still needs to be approved by the County Council, but a date for the decision has not yet been announced.
Holt said the deal will have no effect on the facilities' operation or the price at which the county can rent the arena for events like graduations.
Pesses said that the only major renovation currently planned for the property is the replacement of Show Place Arena's roof. But her agency could plan more upgrades based on the results of a study by the Maryland Stadium Authority, commissioned in December 2011, to study the future viability of the center and arena.
“MSA is doing an operational study for inefficiencies, as well as a marketing study to see what we can do to make it a little more viable and a more attractive facility going forward,” Pesses said. “...[But the sale] makes things a lot tighter and a lot neater, since we'll own the land and are actually improving our own land.”