FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Forsyth County residents asked the Board of Commissioners to preserve the equestrian center at Polo Fields at a Feb. 2 public hearing.
While the topic was not on the commission’s agenda at the meeting, county residents Joel and Jennifer Vanderveur told the board the equestrian center was one of the appeals to living in the county when they moved here three years ago.
At a November 2022 meeting, commissioners voted 5-0 to demolish the property and put it out for bid. Former County Parks Director Jim Pryor said it would cost between $600,000 and $800,000 to renovate the equestrian building and make it code compliant.
Pryor said demolition would cost $175,000. The Parks Board, Pryor and county staff agreed demolition would be the best option.
“I would just ask that we don’t act hastily in this,” Joel Vanderveur said. “Once it's gone, it’s gone forever. I know most of the fields now is soccer. It’s great to have that green space, but this is going to be the last vestige of the character which is Polo Fields.”
In 2022 the county secured a lease agreement with the United Futbol Academy on the athletic side of the fields that is successful and generates $80,000 a year, Pryor said at the Nov. 22 meeting.
Real estate attorney Jennifer Vanderveur said she has a long background with horses, and she requested the board reopen the process to find an alternative to demolition.
“I would like to take an opportunity to submit a business plan that I think would be a very viable option for the county,” Vanderveur said. “I understand that the method of doing this would be to reopen the bidding process, and so I humbly ask that before demolishing this iconic landmark that the board take one more chance to see if we could find an opportunity to create a real equestrian center on this Polo Fields.”
Resident Kenneth Deboard also supported preserving the facility due to its history and significant interest in the community.
Alexandra Sympson, a Cincinnati resident with over 20 years of experience in the equestrian field, said she is in the process of moving to Forsyth County, and the center at Polo Fields drew her to the area.
“Polo Fields are in a really advantageous area to reach a lot of the community here,” Sympson said, and she supports the Vanderveurs’ request for preservation.