Friday, September 16, 2005

Commission wants to I.D. historic places

Ketchum panel selects sites for grant request

Express Staff Writer

The Alonzo Price and Esther Fairman house on Leadville Avenue in Ketchum is among five properties in the downtown core eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The Ketchum Historic Preservation Commission is seeking grant money to help fund the application process. Photo by David N. Seelig

Ketchum's Historic Preservation Commission hopes the federal government will help get Forest Service Park listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

During their meeting Wednesday, Sept. 14, the commissioners discussed which projects they should name in an application for a Certified Local Government Grant for 2006.

Applying for the federal registry can cost $5,000.

Commissioners also voted to seek grant money for federal listing of the 1929 Alonzo Price/Esther Fairman house on Leadville Avenue, which is owned by Andy Sabel.

Sabel, a preservation commissioner, did not attend Wednesday's meeting.

His home is one of five buildings in the city's core eligible for the registry, said City Planner Stefanie Webster.

Listing on the National Register of Historic Places can help with grant requests and tax credits, but it doesn't protect the property, Webster said.

"It's a way to preserve buildings and generate funds so they can be maintained," commission chair Jim Ruscitto said. "It gives the owner additional financial benefit so they're not as likely to put it on the block."

Installing plaques on historic buildings and at historically significant sites is also a priority for commissioners.

Ruscitto said nine people have expressed to him interest in the historical markers.

Plaques can be bought for $300, half of which could be matched by the city, he said.

Matching funds would be paid for out of the city's $5,000 historic preservation line item in next year's budget.

Plaques can't be funded by federal grants unless the proposed properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Webster said.

Historical markers are for informational purposes only, Ruscitto noted.

"It's an issue of public awareness more than anything," he said. "It doesn't obligate anyone to anything."

This year's CLG grant funded a "windshield survey" of historic sites. At the commission's next meeting, Claudia Walsworth, who conducted the survey, will present her findings.

Commissioners also discussed the Redhawk Landing project, a 38,500-square-foot, mixed-use building proposed for 111 East Ave. N.

Ruscitto, an architect, said he could discuss with developers a way to incorporate into the plans two historic houses on the lot.

During a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting this week, property owners said they would consider relocating one or both of the buildings.

Park & Ride endorsed for Louie's

The Ketchum Historic Preservation Commission endorsed the Park & Ride lot in Ketchum as the preferred site for the First Congregational Church, commonly known as Louie's.

Commissioners voted unanimously for that site during their meeting Wednesday, Sept 14. A location on East Avenue is also being considered by the city.

The Wood River Community YMCA's plan, awaiting approval by the Ketchum City Council, provides space at the south end of the property at Warm Springs and Saddle roads for that or another historic building.

The commission will draft a letter with their recommendation and present it to the City Council.

Society plans Ketchum walking tours

The Ketchum-Sun Valley Historical Society plans to begin historical walking tours of Ketchum by next summer.

Anne Zauner, a board member of the society, told the Ketchum Historic Preservation Commission Wednesday that they hoped to have Ivan Swaner and Ralph Harris conduct the informational walks.

The historical society also plans to publish a brochure for self-guided tours, she said.

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