Friday, July 8, 2005

Hefty help for the 'Y'

If the Sun Valley City Council's amiable initial reaction to a request from the Wood River Community YMCA is a signal, then the city of Sun Valley is on the verge of a major financial commitment to the new "Y" building program.

YMCA board member Tom Praggastis, a former Sun Valley mayor, asked the council for $100,000 for five years—$500,000 that would move the Y's construction ahead and be an example for others to emulate, if not exactly on the same scale.

This also would be a wise investment by Sun Valley for the benefit of its citizens, young and old. Since Sun Valley has no active park of its own, the Y and its rainbow of planned programs could become a major source of recreation and educational activities for Sun Valley residents, their children and grandchildren.

The city has relied on Ketchum's parks to fill its needs, with nary a cent offered toward their support. With Ketchum's donation of land for the "Y," it's only fair that Sun Valley shoulder a share of other costs.

Moreover, in the rigorously competitive year-round mountain resort industry, this shouldn't be overlooked either: The eventual addition of the YMCA to the Wood River Valley's growing array of attractions and recreational centers will be another tourism feature to be promoted.

As for Councilman Lud Renick's concern that a hefty contribution to the YMCA might require the city to make similar donations to other groups: the council still retains the prerogative to direct its resources to programs it considers most beneficial to city interests.

Put another way, the council still has the power to say "No" as well as "Yes" when managing the city's affairs.

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