Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hailey Ice story needs context

As a board member and the representative of Hailey Ice responsible for updating the Hailey City Council on the status of the ice rink project last Monday, I feel it's necessary to put Tony Evans' Jan. 26, article, "Hailey rink donation put on ice," into context. At that meeting, I informed the City Council that I have been in regular contact with the donor, that he remains fully committed to fund our project, but that the timing of the payments to Hailey Ice have been delayed indefinitely. I made it clear that we were continuing to work with the donor, but that if the board of Hailey Ice concluded the delay would be unreasonably long (and we have no indication that it will be), we would work to scale back the project and build it from funds raised from other sources—meaning Hailey Ice is committed to build the facility from private, not public funds.

To be clear, I never stated or implied that the delay in the committed funding had caused Hailey Ice "to seek funding elsewhere to complete the partially completed project" as reported by Mr. Evans. Hailey Ice, as a nonprofit organization, is constantly in the process of raising money from numerous sources to fund its programs and projects. There was absolutely no discussion at that meeting of building a $1.4 million bare-bones ice rink. Further, despite the clear implication to the contrary portrayed in the article, Councilman Haemmerle and Councilwoman Burke were in agreement regarding the city's actions on the bond election and Hailey Ice's (and its donor's) continued commitment to build the ice rink.

James Laski


Editor's note: The Idaho Mountain Express stands by the story and the coverage of the Jan. 24 Hailey City Council meeting. It was suggested at the meeting that other funding would be sought. In addition, while council members Haemmerle and Burke might agree on an overall vision, they clearly disagreed at the meeting about the impact the proposed donation to the project might have had on the city's decision to ask voters to approve a $3.5 million bond issue for the city's companion project on the rodeo grounds.

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