Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hailey Ice moves rink to rodeo arena

Nonprofit gives up on anonymous donor

Express Staff Writer

    An outdoor ice rink that has been managed by nonprofit Hailey Ice for 12 years at Roberta McKercher Park in Hailey will be relocated this winter to the floor of Hailey’s new rodeo arena.
    Hailey Ice is hoping to raise about $1 million to complete a separate, refrigerated rink nearby.
    The Hailey City Council authorized the rink relocation during a meeting Monday, agreeing to provide snow removal for Hailey Ice. The new rink will be 25 percent smaller than the previous outdoor rink, but will have better lighting and heated restrooms.
    Mayor Fritz Haemmerle said the idea of relocating the rink was first presented by Streets Department employee Kelly Schwartz.
    Hailey Ice spokesman Ron Fairfax said his nonprofit organization plans to offer five-week skating clinics at the rodeo arena rink, beginning the second week of January, weather permitting.

“After two and a half years of waiting, we have come to the conclusion that the donor will not help us complete it.”
Jim Laski
Attorney for Hailey Ice

    Fairfax and Hailey Ice attorney Jim Laski told the City Council that the organization has given up hope that an anonymous donor would provide promised funding to complete a refrigerated rink that Hailey Ice began building two years ago on city property at the Hailey rodeo grounds.
    Hailey Ice and city leaders expected completion of the refrigerated rink to bring Hockey tournaments, and revenue, to the city. Only a refrigerated rink can be used for tournaments.
    “After two and a half years of waiting, we have come to the conclusion that the donor will not help us complete it,” Laski said.
    In an interview, Laski said Hailey Ice would need about $1 million to complete the refrigerated rink that was begun in 2009. He said Hailey Ice spent $400,000 on foundations for the rink before work was stopped, due to lack of funding about two years ago.
    Laski said $1 million would not be enough to pay for a covered building around the rink, as was planned by Hailey Ice when the anonymous donor promised to provide funding for its completion.
    The anonymous donor promised Hailey Ice about $4 million to complete the rink, which was to have been a year-round recreation facility.
    Hailey resident Michelle Johnson spoke at the council meeting Monday in favor of continuing fundraising by Hailey Ice to complete the rink, which she said could be an economic boon for the city.
    “Every family that attends a tournament spends $300 to $500 in the town where the tournament is held,” Johnson said.
    In other Hailey news:
- Police Chief Jeff Gunter and Streets Department employees Kelly Schwartz, Terry Turner and Gary Brockman were given commendations for 20 years of service to the city.    

Tony Evans:

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