Friday, August 22, 2008

The future of Hailey’s rodeo grounds takes shape

Hockey teams, cowboys and skateboarders are involved

Express Staff Writer

Plans for future use of the Hailey rodeo grounds could involve an extended "street-skating" area for beginning skateboarders, a refrigerated, concrete hockey rink under the rodeo dirt and a shaded covering for year-round use.

The Hailey Parks and Lands Board distributed a recreation survey earlier this month to get public input on the future designs for the rodeo grounds. Since May, the board has been meeting with the Sawtooth Rangers, Hailey Ice and members of the skateboarding community to form a plan for the future of the building.

"The biggest issue is funding," said projects coordinator Becki Keefer. "We really want to hear from the public on this."

The Parks and Lands Board will hold a meeting in early September to present preliminary plans for the rodeo grounds.

A familiar Western mural marks Hailey's historic rodeo grounds, built in 1948 on the south entrance to town. City leaders are committed to keeping it that way.

"Maintaining the historical integrity of the building is important," said City Councilman Fritz Haemmerle during a council meeting Monday. "But the bench seating in the rodeo arena may need to be upgraded."

Councilwoman Martha Burke attended meetings in May and June on the future of the rodeo grounds.

"It was very exciting to see the different groups interacting with one another," she said.

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