Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rodeo upgrade plan gets thumbs-up

City Council to review funding possibilities Monday


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

The Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission gave approval Monday to design plans that could bring a new 3,500-seat rodeo arena, indoor ice rink and expanded skate park to the southern entrance of the city.

"This has been very rewarding," Mike Bulls, of the Ruscitto Latham Blanton architectural firm, said in an interview.

Bulls presented the rodeo grounds plan to the commission on Monday.

"We feel fortunate for having been selected to work on it," he said.

The P&Z voted unanimously to send the plan to the City Council for final review.

"This is a great project," said P&Z Commissioner Mark Johnstone. "The applicant has worked well with all those involved."

Johnstone is also chair of the Hailey Arts Commission, which will review plans to incorporate artwork on the new rodeo arena, possibly salvaged from murals on the "white wall" that encircles the existing facility.

"Funding is now our biggest challenge," said Parks and Lands Board Projects Coordinator Becki Keefer.

She said she has gathered $76,000 in private donations so far for the project.

"There are some major donations waiting in the wings," she said.

The City Council has pledged to provide $3 million in city funds and/or voter-approved funding toward the estimated $6 million cost of the project.

The council will review the P&Z recommendation for approval and explore funding possibilities for the rodeo grounds redevelopment on Monday, March 22, at 5:30 p.m.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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