First off, I would like to congratulate Sam Linnet and Juan Martinez for running for public office in the city of Hailey and bringing new visions to our local government, along with Martha Burke, our new mayor.
Secondly, I am going to say this issue may be more of a first-world problem, but I believe it needs to be addressed. I am a skateboarder who was lucky enough to grow up at our world-class Hailey skate park, and the current state of affairs at our park honestly sickens me, with regards to how the world-class concrete originally poured by Dreamland Skateparks in 2003 has been maintained. As some of the local residents may remember, my senior project at Wood River High School was to design the expansion of the skate park side of the Hailey Rodeo Park redesign. While I did deal with some nasty personal attacks my senior year of high school because I was a part of a group of adults who wanted to redesign the main entrance of Hailey, through a bond incorporating new taxes on Hailey residents in the midst of the great economic recession, I believe that nearly 10 years later, we did an amazing job rethinking what could be in that space at the entrance to our town. We changed an old Rodeo Grounds and skate park into an ice rink/rodeo events center/street section of the skate park area of Werthheimer Park. Yet, still to this day, there is no public restroom easily available in Werthheimer Park.
To give a small history lesson on the rodeo park area of Hailey, originally it was just the Rodeo Grounds and a dirt parking lot sitting next to the Hailey hospital. Then, in the late ’90s, skateboarding became a major recreational activity across America; Hailey and the south valley had nowhere for local kids to go outside and practice their skateboarding maneuvers. Fortunately, the president of the Sawtooth Rangers (coincidentally, my father, Steve) told the local skateboarding community that they could pave some asphalt and build wood ramps on the corner of the Rodeo Grounds area of Hailey.
As this area of Hailey has improved greatly for the better over the years, we still do not have a public restroom, or even portable toilet for local residents to use. When I was 18, I incorrectly assumed that skateboarders and rodeo users would have access to a restroom inside the ice rink building. While the Campion Ice House is an amazing facility where I have attended Sun Valley Suns hockey games, and many local kids have learned how to ice skate, it boggles my mind that a building erected with the help of local tax dollars does not offer a public restroom to locals and tourists.
I have been fortunate over the years to travel to other world-class skate parks across America, and nearly all of them had a restroom for males and females, not a small door that is locked over half the time on the outside of an ice rink building. Anyway, I hope our new city councilmen and mayor can help the skate community come up with a better solution for a restroom at our amazing park.
Gene Fairbrother is a resident of Hailey.