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Friday ó January 30, 2004

News

Group seeks to establish historic commission

Ketchum Council to consider matter Monday


By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer

Directors of the Ketchum-Sun Valley Historical Society have embarked on an initiative to establish a historic preservation commission that would operate as an advisory body to the Ketchum City Council.

Anne Zauner, a director and past president of the group, announced this week that she will seek to finalize the establishment of the commission at the next meeting of the City Council, scheduled for Monday, Feb. 2.

Zauner said Thursday that she has been seeking for 15 months to establish a recognized arm of city government that is charged with preserving historic structures.

"I think itís time our local authorities fully understand the huge role our heritage plays here," Zauner said.

The move by Zauner and other concerned citizens to establish a historic preservation commission in Ketchum is by no means a novel concept. City government in the 1980s established an ordinance that specifically provides for the existence of such a panel.

The ordinance calls for creation of a "historic preservation commission which shall consist of six members who shall be appointed by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council."

The designated purpose of the commission is stated to be the promotion of the general welfare of the public "through the identification, evaluation, designation and protection of those buildings, sites, structures, and objects" that reflect the areaís heritage.

The commission is designed to be a strictly advisory body that would report to the City Council.

Zauner said she believes that the city would benefit in many ways if it established an active commission.

"First of all, itís good for the town, itís good for everyone," she said. "Itís good aesthetically, itís good for education, and itís hugely good for business."

Zauner said recent studies of so-called "heritage tourism"óthat which combines travel with historical and cultural education activitiesóhave indicated that communities which protect and promote historical sites can reap substantial economic benefits.

"Many people who travel are interested in seeing historic sites," she said. "They often stay places longer and spend more money."

Zauner said she first initiated a plan to establish the commission in November 2002, when she brought the idea to Mayor Ed Simon.

However, she said, city officials declined to bring the matter before the City Council until recently elected City Councilwoman Terry Tracy joined her initiative.

Zauner said she will submit on Monday the names of six qualified citizens willing to serve on the commission.

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