County manager gives updates on livestock arena progress

The construction for the new facility is estimated to finish in May

Construction of the Farm Bureau Livestock Arena is expected to be finished next month. (Jesse Deal / Stanly County Journal)

ALBEMARLE — Stanly County Manager Andy Lucas recently provided updates to the county’s Board of Commissioners regarding the final stages of the 10-year project now known as Farm Bureau Livestock Arena.

One year after a groundbreaking ceremony for the facility, the new livestock arena at the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center in Albemarle is expected to be completed soon.

“The livestock arena’s building construction should be completed in May of 2024,” Lucas said on April 1. “Everything is progressing well. Weather has slowed it down a little bit in terms of some utilities that had to be connected to the site and on-site grading. We’ll continue to update the board but they’re looking at sometime in May that that building will be available for the county to take over.”

Lucas added that the Board of Commissioners — depending on how separate grant funding goes — could soon be asked for additional funding for a variety of items, including a boundary fence to contain the livestock and the audio visual components of the facility.

“With the types of livestock that could be at this facility, it’s been important to have the property adjacent to the livestock arena fenced,” the county manager said. “That was something in Union County that they did after the fact. They had livestock run away from an event, and so they ended up going back in and putting in fencing.”

Because a two-and-a-half year window expired for a previous grant from the North Carolina Agricultural Development & Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, the county is now seeking another grant and will speak directly with the granting agency on April 18.

“Some of these things like the tractor, the implements, gates, fencing, tables, chairs and boundary fencing will be able to be paid for with those grant funds,” Lucas said. “We’ll also obviously see opportunities for folks to sponsor — maybe a local company for a period of time just to be able to splash their business on the side of that and advertise for a period of several months. There are opportunities here to find some ways to not use county funding, but overall this project’s moving forward.”

Lucas also brought up the idea of the county funding metal bleachers for the arena, which would potentially be installed on top of the concrete bleachers that are currently situated in the facility. However, he noted that the metal bleachers could be “phased in over time” and that they weren’t a necessary part of the initial opening.

On March 15, Stanly County announced its new leader for both the livestock arena and the Agri-Civic Center.

Chris Lambert, formerly the executive director of the Stanly Convention and Visitors Bureau, was named the county’s new event facilities director and will begin his new role on April 15.

Under his new job title, Lambert will start the process of helping to get the facility open and setting up ribbon cuttings and events.

“I just want to wish Chris Lambert luck and best wishes on his new position at the livestock arena. I think he’s a wonderful choice for it,” Commissioner Peter Asciutto said.

The commissioners are set to hold their next regular meeting on April 15 at 6 p.m. inside the Gene McIntyre Meeting Room at Stanly County Commons.

cutline: Construction of the Farm Bureau Livestock Arena is expected to be finished next month. (Jesse Deal / Stanly County Journal)