Introducing the Sturbridge Agricultural and Equestrian Center
This is not your grandparent’s racetrack: safe, carbon neutral, digital, family friendly, and economic catalyst.
The Sturbridge Agricultural and Equestrian Center is more than a racetrack. We envision a state of the art, carbon neutral complex with a sports bar, agricultural programs, and community amenities. It will be family friendly with community gardens, 2.3 miles of nature trails, a farm-to-table restaurant, meeting space for groups and festival grounds for farmers’ markets.
Our plans include programming for kids and families, providing space for a 4-H club, horseback riding lessons, horse therapy, and educational opportunities for agricultural schools. Additionally, we will build several sports fields with a community pavilion and snack bar for youth and adult athletic teams.
We believe in connecting people to nature, which is why our project is completely sustainable with turning farm and restaurant waste into energy through a biodigester, and a focus on preserving open space and wetlands. Our partnership with Farm Power for the biodigester is forecast to produce a megawatt of power.
Located off of I-84 on 298 acres in the Town of Sturbridge on the Massachusetts-Connecticut border, which makes it easily accessible to all New England, New York, and Pennsylvania.
We believe the SAEC is quintessential Sturbridge. We see it as part of your tourism legacy from the Sturbridge Fairgrounds to Old Sturbridge Village. Our love of horses and vision will ensure this facility is a top location for horses to live, race and retire, and for people to learn and appreciate the beauty of horses and nature.
We invite you to learn more about our vision. We look forward to partnering with the entire Sturbridge community to make the Sturbridge Agricultural and Equestrian Center a reality.
Enhancing the character of quintessential Sturbridge
State of the art, green complex with a thoroughbred racetrack, farming programs and community amenities.
A. Racing & Festival Grounds
Grandstands will be built into terraced earth giving the grounds a park-like feel and honoring the nature and beauty of the property.
With its uniquely shaped track, our facility will be one of the safest tracks in the world and leave a lasting impression with horse enthusiasts.
Racing days will be approximately 10-12 days a year making these grounds available to the residents for a majority of the year.
This is a facility built by horse enthusiasts for horse enthusiasts. The project has the support from New England Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (Anthony Spadea, Jr., President) and Massachusetts Thoroughbred Breeders Association (Donna Pereira, Chair).
B. Horse Activities
We believe our facility will be the top place for horses to train, live and retire. We will offer a riding school for people of all ages to learn about horse care and how to ride, rehabilitation and therapy programs, and a retirement home for older horses.
We believe in teaching the future about horses and agriculture, which is why we will have programs for local students and 4-H clubs to teach the next generation how to be stewards of the land.
C. Community Farming
Our gardens will encompass the entire circle of farming, from bee hives producing local honey and bees to pollinate the community gardens, to selling the food at a farmers’ market.
A bio-digester will take animal and restaurant waste and turn it into energy. A truly green and sustainable project that makes Sturbridge a leader in addressing climate change.
D. Community Recreation
Imagine local sports teams playing at one of our four fields, then celebrating their win at the community pavilion. Grab a snack at the field house. Go on a family hike along the nature trails. Explore the wonders of our backyard in the wetlands through educational signage and habitat activities.
We believe in connecting people to nature.
We’re offering a unique opportunity to expand Sturbridge’s recreational space, athletic fields and open space for the entire community.
At the beginning...
The Center is the vision of both Armand Janjigian and Richard Fields. A local businessman, and.horse breeder and owner Armand Janjigian with his wife, Robin Kalaidjian dreamed of opening a place for horses to live, race and retire, and for people to learn and appreciate the beauty of horses and nature. Richard Fields, a board member of Farm Aid, horse enthusiast, rancher and resort developer, expanded this vision to include an agricultural focus.
Where We Are Today
Since the beginning, our team has worked hard to develop a project that enhances what we all love about Sturbridge. We have met with the town’s Board of Selectmen several times over the last two years, and had a public hearing to allow residents to learn more and provide input. ere are also additional meetings. The Board of Selectmen approved placing the overlay district on the Town Meeting Warrant. The Planning Board held a public hearing and approved the overlay district. We have a Finance Committee meeting scheduled for October 14. In addition, we have met with the Recreation Committee, who voted to support the project unanimously, the Sturbridge Tourist Association, who also gave the project a stamp of approval, and the Trail Committee. We have hosted a number of public open house to engage with the residents of Sturbridge about this project, and to gain critical input from the community we hope to call home.
Present the Zoning Overlay District & Host Community Agreement
The ongoing process of meetings, hearings, and dialogue have resulted in a far better project than what we started with as reflected in a draft proposed Agricultural Entertainment Overlay District and Host Community Agreement (HCA). These two legally binding documents will govern every aspect of the project going forward providing critical protections for the community. They are constantly being shaped by the ongoing conversations we have with residents and town committees. The end result of this step is to have a draft agreement for the town government and, ultimately, the residents to consider. If approved, we all can take the next step to creating the Center.
Next, the town’s boards vote
We have participated in several public hearings with the Board of Selectmen and Planning Board. Both Boards have approved our proposal and moved the project along in the process. The Board of Selectmen approved placing this proposal on the warrant for the fall town meeting, thus giving the residents their next opportunity to weigh in on the project. Town Meeting will be on Thursday, October 28. At every step in this process, the residents of Sturbridge have the final say as to whether we take the next step in making this project a reality.
Obtaining Local Permitting & State Authorizations
Should the approval be given at town meeting, we would then begin the process of getting the necessary local permits and state authorizations for the Sturbridge Agricultural & Equestrian Center. At each step, we will be required to follow the rules put forth in the Overlay District and the HCA, as well as abide by the local and state regulations that require additional hearings and opportunities for public comment. Our goal is to partner with the residents of Sturbridge at every step so we can all succeed together.
An Ongoing Partnership
At every step of this process, we will need to get approvals from the town, the state and even the federal government in order to make the Sturbridge Agricultural & Equestrian Center a success. The only way this happens is by engaging in a constant dialogue with the residents and developing a strong partnership with the Sturbridge community. We believe that this is truly an amazing and exciting opportunity and we look forward to taking every step with this community by our side.