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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2004


Hailey Ice Inc. nears $500,000 goal

Truly, a labor of skating love

Express Staff Writer

For about 20 years, community-minded citizens of the southern Wood River Valley have been dedicating time and dogged hard work towards a public ice skating rink.

They’ve been hosing down public areas like Lawrence Heagle Park and even the rodeo grounds in the frigid hours of winter evenings—so their children could have fun skating.

The grass roots group got more organized in 1999.

And now, in its fifth year as a non-profit organization, Hailey Ice, Inc. is nearing its long held goal of giving the community a covered, refrigerated, public ice rink to provide affordable skating recreation.

"We are plugging along, checks are coming in every week and basically, we are getting really close," says co-vice president, Bege Reynolds.

Of $500,000 in funds needed to complete the initial building project and have a functioning rink, Hailey Ice, Inc. has raised roughly $420,000.

Chairman Ron Fairfax is confident the last $80,000 will come in time to break ground on the long-awaited structure.

The committed land for the 200-foot-by-85-foot rink is adjacent to Lions Park, west of the Big Wood River. The Hailey City Council issued a letter of commitment for the land to use as a rink on May 23, 2003.

Once the initial fund-raising goal is met, the rink will need an additional $100,000 for equipment, lights and a scoreboard among numerous supplies to keep the facility running. Fairfax says that "over the next year of two, another $100,000 to $200,000 will be needed for locker rooms, a skate center and more."

Hailey Ice, Inc. is now awaiting building permit approval from the Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission, a step the city of Hailey is helping facilitate.

The structure will be simple; steel trusses and a concrete slab are the main components. Fairfax expects a two-month building period to start by Sept. 1 for a projected Nov. 15 opening.

Currently, Hailey’s only rink is located at Roberta McKercher Park, its home for the last six years. Even with plans for the new rink, the McKercher rink will continue to be flooded as an outdoor site.

The project has had volunteerism as a benchmark since the beginning.

From making the ice to coaching kids hockey programs and all aspects in between, Hailey Ice, Inc. is a parent-driven labor of love. With no municipal money, the program has been funded entirely by local businesses and individuals. St. Luke’s Medical Center donated a trailer that is used as a warming hut for winter skating.

Power Engineers has been a supporter since the earliest efforts for a rink in Hailey. Recently, the Hailey-based firm has donated fire hoses, valves and propane for the Zamboni ice cleaning machine.

The boys’ and girls’ skating programs are the fastest growing aspect of Hailey Ice. This past winter saw 150 local kids skating at the McKercher park rink. Skates donated from the Sun Valley skate center four years ago provide a substantial number of free skates to use.

"So many kids have learned to skate in the last four years, but they don’t have the resources to get up north to Atkinson Park ice. They walk home from school, or go right to the rink; some even take the bus right to McKercher Park," said Reynolds of Hailey’s skating children.

In the coming months, fundraising for the Lions Park rink will not cease. Special donation opportunities for businesses, memorials or foundations are available.

Named locker rooms – four are needed—will be $25,000 each. Rink boards with advertising space go for $1,400 apiece.

Hailey Ice, Inc. is an inspirational story.

For Dr. Fairfax, a full-time dentist in Hailey, the rink has always been worth the sacrifices. "Going out at 11 at night with fire hoses for two to three hours, doing the maintenance on the Zamboni," these are the hard working memories Fairfax and the rest of the Hailey Ice, Inc. organization bring to the new and exciting project.

These are working people, though, with children and lives and occupations. What is their motivation?

"When you go down there on a Saturday and you see 40 kids playing on the ice," answered Fairfax.

To make a donation call Hailey residents Ron Fairfax, Bege Reynolds or Diane Heiner. Also, donations can be mailed to Hailey Ice, Inc., PO Box 3150, Hailey, ID 83333-3150.

Other board members are Mike Chatterton, Scott Heiner, James Foster, Jim Santa, Bill Josey and Edith Iler.


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