Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hailey Welcome Center gets donor

Matching funds to support historical exhibits

Express Staff Writer

This pair of leather gloves, used in years past at the Hailey Fourth of July Rodeo, will be included in a historical exhibit installed at the rodeo grounds Welcome Center in January. Courtesy photo

Thanks in part to a $3.5 million bond passed by Hailey voters two years ago, the town’s rodeo grounds have been rebuilt to include a modern skate park, and perhaps one day a hockey rink.

A 1,700-square-foot Welcome Center, which cost Hailey taxpayers $322,000 to complete, will also house the Hailey Chamber of Commerce. A mural by local artist Tom Teitge will soon be under way in the gallery area of the building.

The city also plans to salvage and celebrate some of the historical significance of the area, which has hosted many activities since the founding of Hailey, in exhibits at the Welcome Center.

The city won a $4,000 grant from the Idaho Humanities Council last summer to fund the exhibits, which are planned to include rodeo accessories, posters, film clips and photographs. So far the city has spent a total of $34,175 on the exhibits, including historical research.

More financial support in that effort was obtained recently when an anonymous donor pledged to match up to $50,000 in donations for the acquisition of artifacts and memorabilia.

Dawson said the Hailey Parks Foundation has raised $1,000 from another anonymous donor, which will be added to $2,500 in funding from the city and a $2,500 grant from the Idaho State Historical Society.

“The total of $6,000 will be matched by the donor,” Dawson said. “We’re putting together exhibits as we’re able to fund them.”

Anyone who would like to make a donation can call  Dawson at 788-4221, ext. 18.

The historical exhibits, when they’re completed, will feature three wall panels focused on three phases of history at the rodeo grounds. The entire exhibition is titled “Coming Together Through Time.”  

City Administrator Heather Dawson said the first phase will focus on the period from 1903 to 1947, called “From Sage Brush to Race Track,” when the city used the area for horse racing.

The second phase will focus on the period from 1947 until the present day, when the Sawtooth Rangers riding club held the Fourth of July rodeo at the arena, as well as other equestrian events throughout the year.

The third phase will include a celebration of the world-class skate park built at the rodeo grounds 11 years ago, and the beginning of a nearby hockey rink, which remains incomplete, pending an anticipated donation from a person who has chosen to remain anonymous.

In other Hailey news:

( The City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed renaming of the Hailey rodeo grounds to Werthhiemer Park. The new name would be displayed prominently on signs at the rodeo grounds.

Tony Evans:

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