However, both local citizens and Kentuckians in general may be wondering how the WEG will affect our local community and state financially.
According to a recent report by Lexington’s Herald-Leader, “Organizers estimate it will take as much as $70 million in private funds — mostly from business sponsorships and ticket sales — for a private foundation to run the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. But public tax dollars are still footing much of the bill for the state and region to put on the most prestigious equestrian event ever held on U.S. soil.” The report also goes on to state that $107 million in local, federal, and state finances have been spent in renovations at the Kentucky Horse Park, while an additional total of $151 million has gone toward various infrastructure improvements that have been expedited in order to be completed before the WEG.
Proud owner of Genesis Tennessee Walking Horse Farm and iSurf News’ own Vice President of Marketing and Graphics, Marion Miller, explained that, “This is an amazing event that’s going to put Kentucky in the spotlight of all the world’s nations. It’s a good thing for all Kentucky breeders and Kentucky people. For both the population who are not in the horse market and who are in the horse market, it’s going to increase revenue for Kentucky. Not just for Lexington and Central Kentucky, but everywhere. You know, everybody is going to be watching Kentucky because we have the World Games. So as a state, we’re going to shine, and that’s for everybody no matter where they live. I’m proud. I mean, I think it’s amazing that we have the Games here.”
Among her reasoning, Marion explained that there are several factors that she believes will increase revenue in the state due to the WEG. For example, Marion stated that there will be around 1,000 horses attending the event, each with about 4 caretakers/breeders on-hand who will be putting money into the state by purchasing taxable services and goods (food for the horses and staff, hotel rooms, gas, transportation, etc.). In addition, she noted that by having the WEG within our state rather than overseas, we are bringing in money rather than putting it into the costs of travel and other expenses abroad. Local breeders and equine enthusiasts in our local region will also have the opportunity to use the WEG as a platform to further market their products as well, she said. As far as the costs of the infrastructure improvements, Marion explained that the costs are justifiable since they are being put into a play on level that will exist as a benefit to the state even after the WEG are gone.
The majority of the public costs are for large construction projects such as new arenas, new roads and a $7.8 million biking and walking trail from the Lexington, KY Horse Park to downtown. $15 million of the funds will also go to widen Newton Park Rd. in Lexington as well. Of the complete governmental expenditures, costs such as the employment of KSP security at the event and promotional state programs/cabinet expenses related to the WEG are not included.
Overall, though, many economists have stated that there are too many pieces in the puzzle to easily make judgments beforehand. In all reality, the potential impact of the WEG on Kentucky’s already indebted economy will be almost impossible to fully predict until after the WEG have been long gone.
Information provided by Lexington’s Herald-Leader
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