Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Dreaming of a man of vision

Guest opinion by Wally Limburg


Wally Limburg is a resident of Ketchum.

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It was the night before Christmas and nothing was stirring, not even a mouse, and I was awoken by the bugling of the remaining elk on the Warm Springs Golf Course property. It started me thinking about what the city of Ketchum and its residents have lost with the impending development of Warm Springs Ranch.

The owner, Sun Valley Ventures, aka Steve Roth, has made some sweeping changes since it lost the decision to get approval for their development plan last July. Steve Roth reportedly made his fortune in the investment banking and dot.com business in the late 1980s and early '90s. It appears now that Mr. Roth has now entered the dot.gon business.

What does the term "dot.gon" mean? It is the systematic elimination of rural cultural and historic icons by the displacing of jobs, recreational opportunities, historic buildings and wildlife?" Let's look at the report card:

· Warm Springs Golf Course—dot.gon

· Warm Springs tennis ranch—dot.gon

· Warm Springs elk—dot.gon

· Warm Springs Restaurant—dot.gon- April 1, 2006

· Warm Springs Ranch past—dot.gon

· Warm Springs Ranch future—To be determined.

With all the things that the residents and City Council were looking to get some compromise on, it appears Sun Valley Ventures has eliminated all of those obstacles.

As I dozed off from after being awoken by the elk, I had daydreams of two headlines in future issues of the Mountain Express, regarding "Respecting the Past and Ensuring the Future" of Warm Springs Ranch:

· 1st: "Sun Valley Ventures applies for massive development." It's been called by locals the Jerry Maguire Plan, or "Show Me the Money."

· 2nd: Steve Roth was honored as "Man of the Millennium in Blaine County." The story went on to say, "Mr. Roth was honored today in City Hall for his generous gift to the city of Ketchum by donating the Warm Springs Golf Course property to ensure the residents of Ketchum have an affordable municipal golf course. Mr. Roth's actions have put him in the company of those visionaries before him like David Ketchum, Averell Harriman, Bill Janss, Earl Holding and Bud Purdy.

When I wake up, I hope we all are reading the right headlines.




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