UPDATE: Onslow County commissioners vote 5-2 to purchase horse farm from former lawmaker

Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 10:17 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 5, 2021 at 2:01 PM EDT
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ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - Commissioners in Onslow County have voted to move forward with the purchase of a former state lawmakers horse farm.

The vote to purchase Equine Country USA for $1.25 million was approved 5-2.

Commissioners Robin Knapp and Walter Scott voted against the proposal.

Former State Senator Harry Brown owns the property, which the county says was appraised for more than $2.4 million.

Brown approached the county about the purchase and told them he did not want to see the property developed and wanted it to remain largely a natural space for recreation, officials say.

The property is located on McCallister Road.

Previous story:

The Onslow County Board of Commissioners could potentially purchase a horse farm in the county and turn it into a place with additional opportunities for recreational activities.

Former Senator Harry Brown owns the property and told the county that he wanted to sell but didn’t want to see this property developed.

Equine Country opened back in 2002, providing services like horseback riding, fishing, wedding venues, and many other outdoor activities.

Now, 19 years later, the horse farm owner, former Senator Harry Brown, is selling the property.

The county says the property was appraised at the beginning of March at more than $2.4 million and they propose to buy it for $1.25 million.

Onslow County says that tourism funds would pay for about three-fourths of the purchase. State law requires these funds only pay for tourism-related activities. The county says funds are collected as a tax on overnight accommodations such as hotels. County funds would pay for the rest.

The county says fees charged for services at the site would pay for other staff that would maintain and operate other programs on site. Revenue sources would include rentals from weddings, corporate and special events, and classes at the site.

Brown says the reason he’s selling is that it’s time to start slowing down and enjoy time with his family. The former senator said he could sell the property for a lot more but would rather see the county and its citizens have the opportunity to enjoy the property.

No decision yet to purchase Equine Country, but the consideration of the purchase is Monday, April 5th at 11 am during a Board of Commissioners meeting.

Commissioners encourage county residents to tune in and voice their thoughts and concerns about the purchase.

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