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Fixing the money pit

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Updated: 9/13/2012 11:39 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- There's a new push to clamp down on a local money pit.

It's a $25 million facility that's bleeding taxpayer dollars. When it comes to the Equestrian Center on the westside, city leaders are looking to trim the fat to pay for more important priorities.

The center was deserted Thursday night. On Saturday, the venue will be home to the annual Mud Run. The course is set up and ready to go. It's a big event that draws a big crowd. Councilman Doyle Carter wants it to be that busy all the time. "There's a lot of opportunity here with this," said Carter.

The mayor agrees. That's why his spokesman tells Action News they put out a new request to try and find ways to help the city break even on the center. They want funding ideas, marketing, partnership options, and basically have a plan to make sure the center is still around for years to come. "It's a viable asset for us," said the mayor's spokesman David DeCamp.

Last year, there was a big budget battle in city council as the facility operated about $140,000 in the red. City leaders hope to turn that around. We asked about the facility being called a money pit. "We want to make it the best investment for taxpayers," said DeCamp.

"The money-pit perception is exactly that. We need to bring in events and it can be a money-making facility," sad Carter.

The big question is how and who can make this happen. "If we have the right vision with the right plan," said DeCamp.

"The money problem will go away if we get the right vision and the bookings will go up and be booked all year long," said Carter.

This isn't a contract in any way. It's just a way to get ideas and figure out what is best for the Equestrian Center. All responses for this request are due to the city by 4 p.m. on October 4.
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