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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of May 1 - 7, 2002


Financing for town center falls through

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum’s town center proposal is dead in the water.

In a three-page report dated April 26, the Idaho Housing and Finance Association denied the Blaine County Housing Authority’s application for about $1 million in low-interest home loans and $1.7 million in tax credits because the project failed to meet economic feasibility requirements.

"The application proposes 20 affordable housing units at a cost of $178,300 per unit, or $286 per square foot. Considering the various subsidy sources, the per unit subsidy to create each affordable unit is estimated to be $177,210," wrote the association. "A recent affordable housing development in Blaine County (Balmoral in Hailey) has been completed at significantly lower per unit and per square foot costs, as well as with substantially lower per unit subsidy."

The association also cited an inability to "properly analyze" the projected cash flow potential of town center’s proposed commercial attributes.

"The information provided to substantiate the commercial vacancy and lease rates for the Ketchum market area was not independently verified," the association wrote.

While Ketchum Mayor Ed Simon said the information contained in the report echoes some of his own concerns with the proposed project, Housing Director Gates Kellett said they are debatable points.

Kellett said she believes the project could be appealed, but Simon said the city should move on.

Nonetheless, the issue will be a topic for discussion at the Ketchum City Council’s May 6 meeting at Ketchum City Hall at 5:30 p.m.

"There are many different segments of Ketchum that oppose it, and my feeling is that we’d be better off recognizing that we went down the wrong road," Simon said. "It’s time to turn around and go down the right road, and start the process openly, with public hearings from the very beginning."

Councilman Randy Hall said he was disappointed to hear that the financing fell through, but he added that the city council learned many things in the process.

"We ran it up the flag pole, and all the public input we got will enable us to create a better application in the future," he said.

He also pointed out an irony with the association’s denial.

"The large issue for them seems to be the expense to build, but that’s why we applied to them. We’ll just have to continue to do everything we can to get community housing in Ketchum. We need to continue doing what we’re doing."


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.