Working with its Parks & Lands Board, the Sawtooth Rangers, Hailey Ice and other volunteer groups, the City of Hailey, owner of the Rodeo Grounds and the Hailey Skatepark, is putting it’s Master Plan for the entire rodeo grounds property into action that is going to create diverse year-round recreational activities for all ages in our community.
In April of this year the Hailey CityCouncil called for a General Obligation Bond election to ask voters whether they are willing to pay for $3.5 million of the project. They were willing and the bond past by a large margin. Awesome! Way to go citizens of Hailey.
The Hailey Rodeo Grounds is an integral part of the City of Hailey. The grounds have been leased to Sawtooth Rangers for 63 years, since 1947. The 4th of July Rodeo is an institution and the old arena was a long time icon before it was demolished right after this year’s 4th of July Rode0.
Hailey Ice, Inc., thanks to the long time efforts of local Ron Fairfax, has recognized the need for refrigerated ice and raised funds for a facility to this end for over a decade. After several extensive searches, a shared location with combined arena and ice facilities emerged as the best solution. Redevelopment of the property was called out by the community as its priority goal in a 2008 community survey.
Combining these facilities on City-owned land in a public/private partnership creates a unique recreational center in the heart of Hailey. In addition, expanding the Skatepark and increasing the green space surrounding it enhances the entrance to Hailey. The Interpretive/Visitors’ Center will welcome all to our vital community and preserve the heritage of the site.
The ice facility will be owned by the City of Hailey and managed by Hailey Ice, Inc through a long-term lease agreement with the City. The preliminary budget for this facility shows a loss in the first year of $33,187; the second year anticipates net income of $17,578 in addition to anticipated reserves of $15,000. The income figures are based on renting 48 hours of ice a week in the first year, increasing demand to 76 hours per week in the second year. The average rental cost is $200/hour, with a range of $150-$250 per hour. The plans include, among other amenities, concessions, skate rental and sharpening, locker rooms, seating, and coaches space.
The outdoor multi-use event arena, designed to rodeo standards, will be available for the public to rent for a proposed day rate and/or percentage of ticket sales. Financial projections have been calculated estimating a base daily rate of $1,250 – 1,500. The Sawtooth Rangers will continue their annual rodeo over the 4th of July holiday and may host other events as well. Other equestrian activities, concerts, and community events will be booked after the construction funding is in place, giving city coordinators over a year to schedule arena bookings prior to construction completion. The estimated daily rate is established to cover all operating costs and is based on initial usage estimates anticipating 15 days in the first year, increasing to 27 days after three years.
Since the construction of Hailey’s world-class skate park, this facility has been used and loved by beginning, intermediate and expert skateboarders. With the addition of “streetskate” features, more diverse elements to meet broader skater skill levels and shade/picnic areas for spectators and family members this will become 1) an even greater welcome to our community and 2) a more friendly gathering space. There is no revenue generated from this skate park, and the expenses are confined to its concrete and landscape maintenance, routine trash collection and observation by city staff and officials. The new amenities will bring more spectators and parents to the skatepark and will create a more positive atmosphere.
Meeting and exhibit space staffed by volunteers and/or partners (Hailey Historic Preservation Committee, Hailey Arts Commission, Hailey Chamber of Commerce) will be available. This is planned as a stand-alone structure, open to the public on a regular, scheduled basis. The broad sheltered porch incorporated into the building will serve as a transit shelter.
Development of exhibits, both interior and exterior, will be pursued through grants and community volunteer efforts. The Sawtooth Rangers Rodeo may become one of many living exhibits to the western mountain culture of Idaho. Mallory photos of the former Wertheimer Park, which was located on this site prior to the existing arena, may be displayed within, as well as other exhibits to celebrate the history of community spirit of Hailey inherent in this unique downtown site.