Plans stalled for proposed Randolph County Agriculture Center

ASHEBORO, N.C. -- It's a $58 million price tag to turn a 104-acre plot of land into the Randolph County Agriculture Center. It's been a vision for decades.

It's slated to be built on U.S. 64 near the intersection with Ragsdale Road in Asheboro.

The problem? Getting the funds to build it.

"We raise horses, beef cattle, hay and chickens," Ken Austin said.

Austin is one of the many farmers in Randolph County with a problem.

"I have to drive to two different counties to sell my beef cattle, not in Randolph County," he said. "I have to drive at least an hour and a half to sell that cattle. We're hoping to have a facility to sell and register stock."

If the planned agriculture center is built in Asheboro, it would change things.

The county has big plans for the center.

"A livestock arena, livestock areas and holding, where we could do equestrian shows, livestock shows, companion events, dog shows, as well as trade shows and a number of different things," said David Allen, a Randolph County commissioner.

Allen is helping spearhead the $58 million decades-long dream.

"Over 8,000 people are employed in agriculture alone and we're looking to expand that," he said. "It's by far the number one industry in the county."

The first phase of the project costs $27 million. The problem is there is no one to pay for it right now.

The Randolph County Commissioners are looking to partner with private businesses, corporations and area colleges to help raise the money.

They're even asking the state to pitch in $10 million.

"It's something that's needed, but we're not mandated to do it," Allen said. "So we need help from the community to tell us, 'Do you really want to do this?'"

The center is something many people believe will pay for itself when people from across the Piedmont Triad bring their dollars to Randolph County.

"This is just another way of getting tourists to downtown and the center of Asheboro," Austin said. "I think it'll be good for everybody."

People FOX8 spoke with on Wednesday say they didn't know much about the project but were interested in learning morning.

Some people are worried about the cost to operate the facility, but that cost has not been determined just yet.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.