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For the week of December 10 - 16, 2003

News

Council cool to Quigley Canyon golf proposal

Hailey officials await formal
annexation application


By MATT FURBER
Express Staff Writer

The Hailey City Council made no move to respond to a presentation by the Blaine County Recreation District for a cooperative public golf course in Quigley Canyon at a city council meeting Monday, Dec. 8.

Residents attending a Blaine County Recreation District presentation about a golf course proposal for Quigley Canyon view a draft map of the plan. Express photos by Willy Cook

The presentation given by members of the Rec District offered a general description of a plan for a 212-acre golf course that has been in development for many years and could provide a much needed revenue stream for the recreation district.

The proposal includes an Audubon-certified, 18-hole golf course that would be designed by golf course architect John Harbottle III, who designed the Banbury Golf course in Eagle, and the Ridgecrest Golf course in Nampa. Both courses have been recognized for being challenging and for providing wildlife habitat.

In the winter the course would have groomed Nordic skiing trails, said Keith Perry, recreation district board chairman, who gave the presentation with Executive Director Mary Austin Crofts, board member Tim Hamilton and Quigley Ranch representative and planning consultant, John Gaeddert.

A clubhouse would double as a community center. A picnic area and other open space amenities would be incorporated in the plan, Perry said

The recreation district offers youth and adult recreation programs and maintains the North Valley and Harriman trails, Galena Lodge and the Blaine County Aquatic Center in Hailey.

"The (Rec District) has taken on more programs and users as the county has grown," Hamilton said. The increase in programming has put a strain on the budget and staff. The golf course could be an asset that would help pay for things, he said.

Owners of the Quigley Ranch would like to know if the City Council would like to enter into a cooperative agreement for the public golf course.

Mayor Susan McBryant said the Rec District made a good proposal, but the details and public debate about the project would have to wait until a formal annexation proposal is submitted.

"It was a really useful presentation," she said.

Planning consultant and property representative John Gaeddert said the developers would like to get some input from the city about the level of interest in a cooperative agreement before deciding to go forward with a formal application. He said if the city is not interested in participating in the project, it may not be worth spending the money associated with an annexation application.

Plans for the 1,300-acre property include a housing development for between 225 to 250 homes that would be separate from the golf facility. Two percent of the housing sales would go to support recreation under the plan.

Homeowners and donors would be granted advanced tee time signup, but the course would be an inexpensive, quality alternative to other courses in the valley, Perry said. Projections of use by golfers from the Wood River Valley and from visitors could provide a $2.3 million annual revenue stream within 10 years, he said.

"We hope in 10 years this course would throw off substantial cash to fund other programs," Hamilton said.

The Rec District has a $2 million annual budget, up from $1.2 million in 1998. One-third of its funding comes from county tax dollars, and the rest of the budget comes from user fees and fund-raising. Fifty-eight percent of the 1998 budget was supported by taxes.

The dilemma for the Rec District is that the need for the proceeds of a project like the golf course has gotten greater, but the ability to manage the project alone has decreased, Hamilton said.

 

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