Georgia International Horse ParkEdit profile
The Georgia International Horse Park (referred to by locals as The Horse Park) is located in Conyers, Georgia, United States, 30 miles (50 km) east of Atlanta.
Due to the growth of Rockdale County, Georgia in the late 1980s, the county was looking to expand its wastewater treatment system, but they were having to find alternative uses to strict environmental regulations on the local, state, and federal levels. The City of Conyers, Georgia found 1,139 acres (4.61 km2) of land on Georgia State Route 138 north of Interstate 20 that would have been suitable for land application.
Both the City Manager and the County Council were in the process of finding other uses for this land other than land application when Atlanta was awarded the 1996 Summer Olympics on September 18, 1990. This led to a change in plans from a city park to the development of the land that would later become the Georgia International Horse Park. As a result, an equestrian task force was developed to have the park developed, under cooperation with the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG).
The proposed site was visited on August 7, 1991 with details about the land, the proposed facilities, and their post-Olympic usage. The Georgia International Horse Park became reality when it was approved by ACOG on October 21, 1991.
The Centennial Olympic Games
During the 1996 Summer Olympics, which ran from July 19 to August 4, over 600,000 people visited the track to witness events in equestrian, mountain biking, and the riding and running portions of the modern pentathlon events.
Among the event competitors who would gain fame ten years later were Kateřina Neumannová and Michael R. Matz. Neumannová competed in the women's mountain biking competition at the 1996 Summer Olympics would later win the gold medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in the women's 30 km freestyle mass start cross country skiing event. Matz earned a silver in Team show jumping event, and later became trainer to 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro.
Post Olympics Legacy
After the 1996 Summer Olympics, the area around the Georgia International Horse Park experienced growth surrounding the facility. This growth including several residential developments, the movement of First Baptist Church of Conyers from downtown Conyers in late 2000, and the horse park into a facility for many conferences, including the East Atlanta Metro Church conference in September 2001 that included members of the Billy Graham Crusade.
The Allman Brothers Concert (1997)
The facility hosted several high profile concerts in the years following The Olympics. The first was a performance by the Allman Brothers Band on July 4th, 1997. The legendary Southern rock band played a lengthy 21 song set, that was followed by an Independence Day fireworks show.
Celebrate Freedom Atlanta 2007
On September 1, 2007, the park played host to the Celebrate Freedom 2007 concert, including evangelist Luis Palau. Among the sponsors were Ford Motor Company, Bugaboo Creek Steak House, and WFSH-FM in Atlanta. The event was televised by the Gospel Music Channel. Included were kid activities which also featured the VeggieTales, including The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie.
Celebrate Freedom Atlanta 2008
On August 30, 2008, the park hosted the Celebrate Freedom 2008 concert. Training involved for field ministers took place on the evening of August 27, 2008 at the First Baptist Church, located 2 miles (3 km) south of the park.
Georgia Perimeter College
Georgia Perimeter College planned on constructing a facility nearby by 2008, but negotiations between the city of Conyers and Georgia Perimeter College building a facility failed. The college instead constructed a facility in neighboring Newton County, Georgia.