Friday, October 13, 2006

River Street opened to traffic

Project viewed as benefit for business

Express Staff Writer

Hailey Mayor Susan McBryant and developer Jason Roth cut a ceremonial ribbon Wednesday to open a long-awaited stretch of pavement linking the north and south sections of River Street. Photo by David N. Seelig

Hailey officials are in a ribbon-cutting mood these days.

A little over a week ago, it was the Toe of the Hill Trail on the city's eastern boundary. At a ceremony largely attended by volunteer trail workers and various city officials, Hailey Mayor Susan McBryant cut a ceremonial ribbon to open the trail for eager recreational users.

Early Wednesday morning, the opening of a short-but-important section of River Street brought McBryant out for another ribbon-cutting ceremony.

During her remarks, McBryant noted the frequency of recent ribbon-cutting ceremonies.

"Things are happening," she said.

The section of roadway opened to traffic on Wednesday is located between Empty Saddle Trail and Myrtle Street. The completion of the new stretch of road is something Hailey officials have sought for years. It links two sections of River Street that have been separated until now.

The opening of the street will facilitate greater business opportunities in that area of Hailey, McBryant said.

"This is probably one of the most exciting things I have seen happen in the city since I started," she said.

After the ribbon was cut, McBryant became one of the first drivers to travel the new stretch of road. Joining McBryant for the ceremonial drive was local developer Jason Roth.

Roth is one of the key backers involved in the development of the large 421-unit Sweetwater development in southern Hailey's Woodside neighborhood.

The Hailey City Council's Aug. 14 approval of the Sweetwater project set in motion several key land trades between the city and developers of the project.

In exchange for gaining ownership of several key parcels of land located within the Sweetwater project that were owned by the city, developers of the project purchased and then conveyed to the city the sought-after River Street property.

Altogether, Hailey paid approximately $40,000 to local contractors L&K Engkraf Construction and Valley Paving for much of the roadwork. City road crews completed some of the preparation work on the project.

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