Wednesday, October 27, 2004

?5-acre parcel? plan emerges

Sun Valley eyes improvements to site despite some objections

Express Staff Writer

The city of Sun Valley is moving forward with a plan to make numerous improvements to its prized ?Five-acre parcel? along Sun Valley Road, despite some objections from the public.

Sun Valley City Council members on Thursday, Oct. 21, gave informal approval for the city to research the costs and logistics of a plan to convert the parcel into a landscaped park that features a small amphitheater for staged events.

The parcel, which was acquired in a land trade with the Sun Valley Co., comprises approximately five acres of open space on the city?s western edge, adjacent to Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church.

Working in collaboration with council members Ann Agnew and Lud Renick, land planner Doug Clemens this month drafted a schematic plan for the site that calls for numerous improvements designed to encourage public visitation.

The tentative plan calls for:

· Erecting a stage on the north end of the site, at the base of a sagebrush-covered slope.

· Establishing tiered lawn seating on the north slope, above the stage.

· Installing a structure on the west side of the parcel that would house public restrooms and maintenance operations.

· Installing berms and landscaping in a circular shape in the middle of the site. Trees and berms would surround an open lawn that could be used for fairs and day-to-day public use.

· Segregating a section of the parcel adjacent to Sun Valley Road as a parking area that could accommodate up to 54 vehicles.

According to the plans, the bermed lawn areas in the center are intended to accommodate picnics, small informal group gatherings and activities such as ball games and Frisbee.

Agnew said the amphitheater in the rear of the site could be used for approved concerts and dramatic performances.

City leaders said they intend to consider public comments on the plan through the winter, starting at a special town hall meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 5:15 p.m. in the Limelight Room of the Sun Valley Inn. A decision on whether to pursue the plan will be made in the spring of 2005, they said.

Resident Barry Coe cautioned that the plan could ?creep? toward greater development of the site. Many city residents have expressed a desire to maintain the parcel as simple, accessible open space, he noted.

Resident Karen Reinheimer said she believes the plan to develop the amphitheater needs to be studied in detail before being implemented. She expressed specific concerns about excavating and irrigating the north slope to create seating for the theater.

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