Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hailey Ice gets $250,000 check

Ice rink could be built near Albertson?s grocery store

Express Staff Writer

Hailey Ice Inc. got one step closer to building an outdoor, refrigerated ice rink on Monday when Spring Canyon Ranch developer Mark Meyers wrote the non-profit organization a check for $250,000. The donation was provided as part of a deal with the city of Hailey for the extension of a sewer line to the proposed Spring Canyon Ranch development in Democrat Gulch, west of the city.

"This is very exciting," said Hailey Ice President Bege Reynolds. "We had 70 kids in figure-skating and hockey-skating programs at Roberta McKercher Park this winter, but we are always dependent on Mother Nature."

Reynolds said the all-volunteer program of coaches, ice-makers and Zamboni drivers at McKercher Park was shut down this year on Feb. 15 when the ice got slushy. She said a refrigerated rink would extend the skating season from two and a half months long to six months.

Three years ago, when the city offered Hailey Ice property to build at Lion's Park near the mouth of Croy Canyon, fund-raising began in earnest. The group was able to raise $200,000 from the community. From its inception, Hailey Ice has been offered an additional $250,000 challenge grant from an anonymous donor. Currently the organization has $485,000, but nowhere to build.

Last month, the group abandoned plans to build in Lion's Park and has recently been eyeing about one acre of property near Albertson's grocery store, which Reynolds says may soon be donated to the city as part of an annexation request by the Life Church.

"The $250,000 challenge grant is contingent upon us getting land, getting approval by Planning and Zoning and having all our ducks in order," said Reynolds. "Then we will get started on our final fund-raising efforts."

If Hailey Ice is successful in garnering the challenge grant donation, the organization will have $750,000 toward a final construction cost of between $900,000 and $1.2 million.

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