Having lived in Wellington for 20 years and knowing there is a huge equestrian presence here, but never taking the opportunity to go, I finally went to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center last Saturday night to see the Great Charity Challenge. As I drove onto the grounds off Pierson Road, I thought I had entered Shangri-La. I had no idea that this incredible, world-class facility was right here in my own back yard.
The evening continued to get better. Admission is free to everyone. There were lots of activities for young kids, including a gorgeous carousel. The charity event was impressive to say the least. Thirty-four local charities were teamed up with both professional and amateur jumpers, supported by local sponsor families to the tune of giving away $1.5 million!
These sponsors, who are part of the .001 percent of wealth in this country, saw fit to donate their energy and money to make this event spectacular. I realized these people of incredible wealth that I could not even imagine have been spending their money right here in Wellington. They not only funded this huge event; they pay property tax, shop and eat in our village. These (equestrian) people keep our taxes low.
It got me thinking: Florida does not have a state income tax because we have tourism, well Wellington has a fair tax base because we have the equestrians. Why is it then, that three out of our five Wellington Village Council members are trying their hardest to do away with the equestrian club? How could anyone possibly be against this fabulous facility that has something for everyone?