Friday, April 2, 2010

Rodeo park is a bargain


The Hailey City Council recently decided to put a bond vote to the Hailey voters on May 25 to fund the Hailey Rodeo Park. Additional public hearings will be held on April 5 and April 12.

The proposed improvements, first conceived more than two years ago, include a multi-use outdoor-event arena built to rodeo dimensions, an indoor Hailey Ice rink, an expansion to the world-class Hailey skatepark, interpretive elements and public art, with parking, sidewalk and landscape improvements. (Think concerts, markets, events, community gathering place.)

As all improvements would be owned and managed by the city of Hailey, last fall the City Council pledged to match up to half the cost with capital funds and/or voter-approved funding if donations, pledges and grants could be secured for the other half. If the fundraising goals are met, and I believe they will be, Hailey citizens will have the opportunity to vote on a new recreation legacy for Hailey. If the fundraising efforts and the vote on the general obligation bond are successful, Hailey citizens will own new community-based recreation assets at half price.

Times are tough; some haven't worked for many months. This public-private partnership project will create jobs and every effort should be made to use local public-works contractors where feasible. When the facilities are complete, visitors coming to Hailey for hockey tournaments, rodeos, concerts, skatepark competitions and other activities will spend their dollars in Hailey, creating more jobs.

The recreation bond going up for vote on May 25 could cost the Hailey property owner $33 per $100,000 taxable valuation. If your home is valued at $300,000, less the homeowners' exemption, you can expect to pay plus or minus $66 a year—less than $6 a month. More contributions from the greater Wood River community would reduce the amount that Hailey taxpayers would have to borrow, further reducing Hailey taxpayer costs.

Interest rates are low, construction costs are as much as 15 percent less than in previous years and the project has gained momentum throughout the community. Now is the time for our community to invest in itself and in our children's recreation. This is our opportunity to build upon and celebrate our past and expand into the future.

For more information on the project, see haileycityhall.org or haileyparks.org.

Becki Keefer

Hailey




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