Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Building costs chill rink plans

'Hailey Ice' construction to begin summer 2005

Express Staff Writer

Facing rising construction costs and lingering approval requirements, the Hailey Ice Park Committee is racing against time to raise enough money to break ground on a covered ice rink next summer.

A new refrigerated NHL-standard ice rink to be called "Hailey Ice" is planned for Lions Park. The original name, the Wood River Community Ice Rink, was changed when the proposed YMCA in Ketchum adopted the name of Wood River Community YMCA.

The committee envisions a skating facility open five months of the year. For the remainder of the year, the 28,000-square-foot pavilion would be available for concerts, antique shows, car shows, trade shows or weddings.

Lions Park is city owned property located outside city limits in Blaine County. The city is presently planning to expand the site, which already had a baseball diamond, for additional recreation, including a whitewater park and nature trail. The city is the applicant for building permits before the Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission.

The city now uses the part of the park intended for the rink for road gravel and snow storage. The city is looking for alternative sites for storage and plans to move all materials as soon as construction gets underway.

Hailey Ice has raised some $425,000 in cash and pledges, just shy of the $500,000 the committee had hoped to raise by June 1, 2004 to get the project stared this year.

The committee estimates that by next summer, however, construction costs will be some 25 percent more expensive. Therefore the committee is hoping to raise $750,000 to cover initial costs of construction for the basic facility to include the refrigerated ice rink, hockey boards, steel truss roof and a Zamboni ice resurfacer. Originally, the cost was estimated to be about $600,000.

The project also includes plans for support buildings, locker rooms, rest rooms, concessions and an office. The estimated cost for the support buildings has jumped form $200,000 to $250,000.

Hailey Mayor Susan McBryant, the city council and the Hailey Parks and Recreation Committee have all endorsed the project.

The committee is contacting major benefactors in the Valley and key businesses that have expressed interest in the project for support. The committee will also be pursuing community-wide outreach to raise the remaining funds necessary for the project.

Committee members said donations would also be taken once final approval is achieved and construction begins. Donations of labor during construction and material, including electrical components and hydronics for heating, lights, scoreboards, gravel excavation will be accepted.

For more information, contact Dr. Ron Fairfax at 788-3169, Diane Heiner at 788-6474 or Bege Reynolds at 788-3325. Donations can be sent directly to Hailey Ice, P.O. Box 3150, Hailey, ID 83333.

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