Friday, July 21, 2006

Panel recommends relocation of Louie?s

Express Staff Writer

Plans to move a historic church gained ground last week when the Ketchum Historic Preservation Commission decided that a proposed spot downtown was an appropriate site for the building.

The commission voted Wednesday, July 12, to recommend to the Ketchum City Council that the corner of East Avenue and Sixth Street would be a good place for the 1880s-era First Congregational Church. The building is commonly referred to as "Louie's" for a pizza restaurant that once occupied it.

It has been stored at two city-owned lots near the corner of Warm Springs and Saddle roads since 2000, when it was moved to make way for a commercial building that was never built.

The 1943 residence now on the proposed relocation site may be torn down or relocated to make way for the church.

Members of the Ketchum Historic Preservation Commission conducted title and other searches to make sure they weren't recommending the removal of one heritage building to make way for another.

"We didn't come up with any old photos of this building," said City Planner Stefanie Webster, who serves as liaison to the commission. Neither did they find any historical character remaining due to extensive remodeling or evidence that persons of historical significance ever lived there.

The commission is seeking pre-1970s photographs of the residence, located at 580 East Ave., on the northeast corner of East Avenue and Sixth Street, to ensure its findings are accurate.

Photos can be sent directly to the Ketchum Planning Department, City Hall, 480 East Avenue North.

Last month, a private party, Old Mill Development LLC, expressed interest in buying the 1883 church to renovate it, move it and open it for an unnamed retail use. It would be sited next to the Picket Fence, owned by the same party.

They are also considering the acquisition of the 1910 James Shaw and Obenchain house, former home of the UPS store, at 480 Second Street, and placing it behind Louie's on the same lot, Webster said. Another development is slated for construction soon, and that building could be demolished to make way.

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The Ketchum Historic Preservation Commission is seeking pre-1970s-era photos of the home at 580 East Ave.

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