Grab rec deal while its hot
The $11.8 million 20-year bond issue for recreation
facilities deserves voter support.
The facilities are a something-for-everyone opportunity.
The proposed facilities include a community pool and hot springs in
Ketchum; a recreation center in Hailey that will include enclosure of the existing pool; a
new gym and a teen center; mid-valley playing fields in Ohio Gulch; and money for small
projects to be determined by residents in Carey, Picabo and Gannett.
Some voters are asking, "Why?" But the real question is
The tax increase required is eminently affordable. Financial
feasibility studies predict that entry fees will pay for operations, and the facilities
themselves will only cement the areas reputation as a recreational mecca.
Whats not to like?
The Wood River Valley is known for its residents intense participation
in sports and recreationindoors and out. After seeing sheep hit record high speeds
sprinting down Ketchums Main Street during the Trailing of the Sheep event, one
local wag said, "Leave it to the valley to make Trailing of the Sheep an aerobic
event." What better place for a set of topnotch sports facilities?
The warm pools in Ketchum will become yet another attraction for
visitors and a unique amenity for residents.
The gym-pool-teen facility near the high school is tailor-made for
Hailey and Bellevue family-centered lifestyles.
The playing fields in mid-valley will take pressure off overburdened
existing fields and allow for some growth in local sports clubs and leagues.
Financially, the bond is a good deal. At $12.85 per $100,000 of
property valueover and above what property owners are paying nowthe additional
tax is eminently affordable as well as deductible from federal income taxes.
The deal is particularly good for residents of Hailey and Bellevue. By
generating $1 million in taxes to enclose the existing pool and to build and equip a gym,
teen center and workout rooms, the cities will host a $5.8 million facility. That should
go a long way toward alleviating the ongoing north county-south county rivalry over where
tax money is spent.
Compared to private facilities, memberships in the public facilities
will be highly affordable. In Hailey, the $50-a-month rate for a family of four is less
than individual rates at private health facilities. Also, the Rec District has promised
that no child will be refused entrance because of inability to pay.
The new facilities will round out the valleys recreational
amenities and expand opportunities for young people at an affordable price. Voters should
grab this deal while its hot.