Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ice rink donor said to be still on track

Construction expected to begin again next April

Express Staff Writer

An anonymous donor who was originally expected to provide up to $3.3 million toward construction of a covered ice rink at the Hailey Rodeo Grounds but who stepped back from his promise in January "remains completely committed to funding the project," Hailey Ice attorney Jim Laski stated in an e-mail to the Idaho Mountain Express on Tuesday.

Hailey Ice spent more than $400,000 on foundations for the rink before it informed the public in January that the donor was delaying his anticipated funding due to business uncertainties.

Laski said he has no reason to believe that the dona-tion will not be forthcoming. He said the nonprofit or-ganization hopes to be in a position to recommence construction by April 2012.

He said that although the anonymous donor will be the primary source of funding for the project, Hailey Ice will continue to raise money from other sources, just as it has been doing for the past 11 years.

He said the estimated cost for the facility that Hailey Ice would like to build is in the neighborhood of $3.8 million to $3.9 million.

"The ice rink is going to be an incredible facility that will be owned by the public," City Attorney Ned Williamson said, even though it will take longer to complete than people expected.

"I talk to teenagers all the time about patience," he said. "It will be a great facility and patience is a vir-tue."

Meanwhile, construction is proceeding on three other projects at the 5-acre rodeo grounds—an inter-pretive center building to house art exhibitions and the Hailey Chamber of Commerce, a new rodeo arena and expanded skateboard facilities, all of which broke ground last year.

Because much of the groundwork for the shared location is overlapping, Hailey Ice made a commitment this week to fund an $8,100 Idaho Power work order for a transformer extension to the site, Williamson said.

The ice rink aside, construction costs for the public property is estimated to be about $3.4 million, which is being funded by a bond issue. Williamson said the sum is a general figure for the construction cost and doesn't include associated utility hookup fees or architectural and construction management fees.

Hailey city leaders and the Hailey Chamber of Commerce are still in negotiations with architects as to the final look and function of the interpretive center.

Williamson said he is also excited about the ex-panded skateboard park, which will have streetscape as part of the design.

"That's going to be a really cool facility for kids," he said. "They're going to love it."

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