Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Hailey welcomes land gift

Croy Canyon open space greeted with excitement

Express Staff Writer

A gift of 77 acres of open space at the mouth of Croy Canyon west of Hailey was met Monday with excitement by Hailey officials and city residents. The undeveloped land, above, is primarily riparian in nature and is being donated to the city by Bill Simons, a member of the Friedman family. Photo by Willy Cook

Hailey officials gratefully accepted the donation of 77 acres of open space at the mouth of Croy Canyon on Monday.

Property owner Bill Simons made the offer at the City Council's Monday meeting, where his gift was welcomed with a round of applause. Simons is a member of the Friedman family, which has strong ties to the Hailey area.

Out of respect for the Friedmans, who have given much to the city, including the land occupied by Friedman Memorial Airport, Councilwoman Martha Burke suggested the land carry the Friedman name.

"This gift should be remembered," Burke said. "I just can't think of a more delightful gift."

The donation will transpire in two installments. Sometime in July, Simons will turn over approximately 39 acres. The remainder will be given to Hailey in five years.

"That's only because of IRS requirements," Simons said.

The land, located adjacent to Lion's Park near the mouth of Croy Canyon, is primarily riparian in nature and is undeveloped. The property contains a small portion of open hillside near the foot of Della Mountain.

The land is outside of Hailey's city limits.

Deed restrictions limit the land to its current, natural state but allow for non-motorized access and passive recreational use. According to City Clerk Heather Dawson, that could include construction of unpaved trails and installation of benches.

Simons, who lives in the Boise area, envisions the land becoming a heavily used amenity, much like the popular Camel's Back Park in the foothills near the north end of Boise.

"It's just something everyone can use," he said.

Simons suggested the property's natural amenities may provide an excellent outdoor classroom for local students.

"In the wetlands they can study biology," he said.

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