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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 June 26 - July 2, 2002


Janss Center fundraising advances

First $650,000 in the bank

Express Staff Writer

If everything goes as planned, Ketchum could have a huge new recreation facility by next fall.

"We’d like to break ground at this time next summer and open next fall," said Janss Center fund-raising advisor Steve Marshall, of the proposed center that would feature ice skating, swimming, rock climbing and a gymnasium at the corner of Warm Springs and Saddle roads.

Members of the Janss Center board and their financial planners presented an aggressive fundraising and construction schedule June 19 to Ketchum citizens attending a town hall meeting at the city’s American Legion Hall.

That schedule includes a local public awareness campaign this summer and regional fundraising this fall. By spring, the campaign is scheduled to open up as a community-wide effort, said Campaign Director Mike Wolter.

But, already, the Janss Center has raised $650,000 toward an $8 million goal, which would constitute approximately half of the facility’s construction cost.

With a slick campaign video featuring Blaine County Sheriff Walt Femling, Sun Valley Co. General Manager Wally Huffman and the widow of former Sun Valley owner Bill Janss, Glenn Janss, the Janss Center campaign is preparing to kick into high gear.

"I’m very confident," Wolter said. "We’ve never been more confident."

According to a business plan written by Washington, D.C.-based Brailsford and Dunlavey business planners and released for public review last June, the project would be made possible using a public-private partnership.

A sketch of the plan follows:

·  The Janss Center privately raises $8 million.

·  Ketchum leases the city-owned park and ride lot to the Janss Center.

·  The Janss Center borrows constructions costs from, and pledges the lease to, a lender.

·  The Janss Center coordinates construction of the building.

·  The Janss Center leases the building to the city. The city operates the facility.

·  The city pledges all revenues from the facility to cover the construction debt of approximately $7 million, about $505,000 a year for 20 years.

·  The city resolves to consider taking ownership of the facility when the debt is paid.

Ketchum officials have not granted green lights for the project, but have expressed enthusiasm for the concepts. In meetings last summer, council members said they’d be happier if the annual debt service was closer to $300,000 or $350,000 per year.

Also, they said they want more assurances that the center could actually make the approximately $30,000 per year business planers project after four years.

Citizens and officials have also expressed a need to do something with the park and ride lot.

"We needed a pool yesterday, and we’ve been 15 to 20 years down the road," said Ketchum Parks Department Supervisor Terry Tracy, adding that the Janss Center must be given a deadline.

Conceptual architectural plans for the Janss Center are still rough, but they anticipate a large structure built in the style of the old Ketchum train station. The facility would include a regulation ice rink, fitness center, aerobics area and gym, climbing wall and an array of swimming opportunities.

A leisure pool, including lap-swimming lanes, would be complemented with several hot pools, which could be heated naturally using the nearby Guyer Hot Springs in Warm Springs Canyon.

The pools proposal closely models a proposal that would have been funded by a failed Blaine County Recreation District bond initiative in the fall of 1999.


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.