Preservation plan for ‘Louie’s’ gains
Old church could be relocated on Park
and Ride lot
By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer
"Louie’s," the wayward historic church
remembered best for its time as a downtown Ketchum pizza parlor, could be
granted a permanent location on public property under a new plan gaining
momentum at Ketchum City Hall.
Four members of the Ketchum Historic
Preservation Commission—an advisory body formed by the city last
February—informally agreed Wednesday, June 16, to advance a plan to put the
123-year-old building on the south end of the Ketchum Park and Ride lot. The
city-owned lot is located at the corner of Warm Springs and Saddle roads.
Commissioners Mike Bouiss, Nan Emerick,
Jim Ruscitto and Tory Canfield agreed to support a proposal that would relocate
the old church from a city storage lot on Lewis Street to a permanent location
on a three-tenths-acre portion of the Park and Ride site.
The commission is planning to conduct a
vote in the coming weeks to formally recommend a specific plan of action to the
Ketchum City Council. The council holds final authority over how all city land
parcels are used.
Floyd McCracken and Dick Meyer,
co-founders of the Ketchum-Sun Valley Historical Society’s "Save the Church"
committee, told commissioners that the group has raised $112,000 to renovate the
aging Louie’s building.
The tentative plan being supported by Save
the Church and the commission calls for using the church as a community center
and museum maintained by the Historical Society.
"There are so many things a community
center could provide," McCracken said. McCracken in March presented to the City
Council a proposal to relocate Louie’s on the southern end of the Park and Ride
After some council members questioned
whether the project would infringe on the plans of the Wood River Community
YMCA—which hopes to put a $16 million recreation center on the site—the proposal
was sent to the Historical Commission for review.
Although McCracken has maintained that
there is adequate space for both projects on the 5.8-acre Park and Ride site,
commissioners have asked that he provide a letter from the YMCA indicating that
the plans are not in conflict.
Once called "Louie’s Pizza," the 1881
Congregational church was moved from its original location at Leadville Avenue
and Sun Valley Road in 1999. The church last year was removed from a temporary
location on the Park and Ride lot amid complaints that it was an eyesore.
In the last two years, Save the Church has
made proposals to locate Louie’s at the Ketchum Cemetery, the site of the Guy
Coles Skate Park in Ketchum and the city of Sun Valley’s five-acre open-space
parcel on Sun Valley Road. None were approved.