For the week of January 27, 1999   thru February 2, 1999  

Ketchum City Council cuts more proposed sidewalks

Express Staff Writer

Responding to public sentiment presented at a Ketchum City Council meeting last week, the council decided to cut three more sidewalks from the proposed local improvement district sidewalk improvement plan.

The sidewalks, along Leadville Avenue and Sixth Street, will be excluded from a local improvement district ordinance that will go before the council at the Feb. 1 council meeting, Ketchum city administrator Jim Jaquet said in an interview. That ordinance will create an LID to fund sidewalk construction in downtown Ketchum.

Although two of the three affected lots are commercial in use, the council saw fit to exclude them from the project during its Jan. 19 meeting based on the low pedestrian traffic in that area and the need for expensive retaining walls there. The landowners would be responsible for 80 percent of the improvement costs while the city pays for 20 percent.

At the meeting Ketchum property owner Bob Stevens voiced opposition to the idea of sidewalks in front of his property. Stevens owns the Leadville Avenue lot and structure that houses Chic Hippies.

"We are opposed to the project, and we don’t want anything to do with it," he said.

Those in opposition were generally against the cost, particularly, some said, when plans they have to remodel in the near future will rip the sidewalks up anyway.

Others cited triple-net leases, which pass bills and improvement costs on to a building tenants.

"We don’t need a foot wall, gutters, curbs and sidewalks when the cost will be passed on to our customers, who are hanging on by their fingernails," Stevens said.

Council members, in general, said the LID project should go forward in as unimpeded a manner as possible.

Councilman David Hutchinson said that his business, the Valley Club, was involved in Ketchum’s first LID improvement project. He said people do use the sidewalks that were built.

"There’s public benefit to be had here," he said. "I wish we had more support."

"There will always be people who don’t want to pay," Councilwoman Sue Noel said. "We need to go forward on this. It’s on the top of every wish list we’ve ever had."

The commercial core needs to be connected, she said.

Councilman Randy Hall pointed out that the first time the LID proposal was before the council, it was scaled back 50 percent. It doesn’t need to be cut any more, he suggested.

Despite the council’s seemingly overwhelming sentiment in favor of the improvements, the three sections along Leadville and Sixth Street were extracted for the financial reasons and the lack of pedestrian traffic.

According to an LID sidewalk-improvement plan map supplied by the city of Kechum and information from Jaquet, only six of the originally planned 16 LID sidewalks will be included in the LID ordinance that will be presented to the council on Feb. 1.

Those proposed sidewalks still included in the LID are: two stretches on the corner of Main and Sixth streets by Formula Sports, a stretch in front of Omlay’s on Washington Avenue, two stretches on the corner of Washington Avenue and Fifth Street across from the Sun Valley Center and one on the Sixth Street side of the Cantho restaurant.


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