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For the week of Nov. 10, 1999 through Nov. 16, 1999

Hot pools for Ketchum

In the wake of the defeat of the $11.8 million recreation facilities bond, the city of Ketchum should take a look at a city-wide bond issue to build an outdoor leisure aquatic center in Ketchum.

The county-wide recreation bond that would have built two facilities—one in Ketchum and one in Hailey—failed by just a sliver—about one vote in Ketchum. The bond was soundly defeated county-wide by a vote of 55.4% to 44.6%. It required a two-thirds majority for passage.

Ketchum is the only city in the county with its own parks department, and the only one that offers active playing fields. It should capitalize on the interest shown in the aquatic center by contracting for a revised feasibility study and cost estimates for its own facility.

Natural warm water has strong appeal for people of every age. Since the demise of the private Bald Mountain Hot Springs, the hot water for which the area is well known has gone unused.

A feasibility study conducted on the North Valley Aquatic Center showed that revenues would more than cover the cost of operations and maintenance. The study also estimated that the center’s payroll could dump more than $400,000 annually into the local economy.

The idea of a soak in a warm outdoor pool after a day of hiking or spring skiing is appealing to people of any age. The location of the pool on Saddle Road near Rotary Park could make it sensational for summer picnic and pool gatherings for families. With proper management and marketing, the facility could become a regional draw—another jewel in the crown of the mountain experience for residents and visitors alike.

It’s possible that private hot tubs and hotel facilities may already fill the bill. The only way to find out is to do the research and ask voters to decide.


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