Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Louie?s redux in the making?

Another historic building could be moved to East Avenue?s south end

Express Staff Writer

The 1884 James McCoy/Frank Gooding house might be moved from its site at 111 East Ave. just a short hop away to public right of way at the end of the street. Developers who own the building may donate it to the city of Ketchum, which would keep it for public use. Photo by David N. Seelig

The thought of placing a historic structure at the south end of East Avenue in Ketchum elicited cheers from preservationists—and boos from some neighbors.

In 2000, the Ketchum City Council approved relocating the First Congregational Church—commonly known as Louie's, after a pizza restaurant that once occupied it—to a city-owned lot at the end of East Avenue on the condition that the city's historical society could raise enough money to pay for restoration.

Financial issues, then opposition from neighbors and finally resistance from former Mayor Ed Simon derailed the idea.

The current mayor, Randy Hall, and council have resurrected the plan, this time with a historic home once occupied by Frank Gooding, who became governor of Idaho in 1905.

"The political climate has changed," Ketchum City Planner Beth Robrahn said during a meeting of the Ketchum Historic Preservation Commission on Wednesday, Nov. 8. Robrahn serves as liaison between the council and the commission.

"(Owners) would donate it to the city," Robrahn said. "Now we have to figure out a site plan."

The house could fit into a park-like median proposed for the area, Robrahn said.

The 1884 James McCoy/Frank Gooding house is one of two old homes that sit on a four-lot parcel of land designated for a new multi-use structure. The other historic building is the James Shaw and Obenchain house, built in 1910.

The Ketchum Planning & Zoning Commission in September 2005 held a preliminary design review for Redhawk Landing, a 38,515-square-foot, mixed-use project slated for 111 East Ave. N. It was designed with 20 residential units, including four community housing units, and an underground parking garage. Commercial space would occupy the ground floor.

Redhawk Landing developers, like many others, have been waiting to move forward on plans until the city finished overhauled its zoning ordinances, which it finished Oct. 30.

The Redhawk Landing building will likely be reconfigured to accommodate ordinance revisions.

Although the city doesn't have the authority to prohibit owners from moving or demolishing old buildings, the city is hoping to offer incentives for their preservation.

One system under consideration is transfer of development rights, which allows owners of smaller buildings to sell development rights to other property owners. The idea is to give projects additional developable space in designated areas of town, while preserving historic and small buildings elsewhere.

The Gooding house could be placed on public right of way at the south end of East Avenue where the street dead-ends.

The move would have to go through the design review process at the P&Z level. It would take at least a year before plans are solidified.

Frank Gooding and his wife came to the Wood River Valley in 1881. The Gooding brothers, Frank, Fred and Thomas, were involved in logging and for several years operated the Ketchum Meat market, according to the Ketchum-Sun Valley Historical Society. They also worked in the sheep ranching business, farming and banking.

In the 1940s, the Gooding house was bought by a waiter at Sun Valley, remodeled and sold again a few years later, according to the Ketchum-Sun Valley Historical Society.

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