Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Affordable housing scrapped

Ketchum landmark is gone for good

Express Staff Writer

The old Cliffview Apartments, also called the Racquet Club, were torched May 12. What remained of the old building was carted off over the weekend. Photo by Willy Cook

A piece of local history went up in smoke May 12 when the Ketchum and Sun Valley fire departments torched the old Cliffview Apartments, also known as the Racquet Club, in a training exercise. The building's scrap was removed over the weekend.

The apartments, not the property, were donated to the departments by the owner, David McDonald, a Ketchum resident.

Ketchum planner Beth Robrahn said the exact history of the complex is not on file at Ketchum City Hall, but she pointed out it was the first place she lived in the Wood River Valley in the summer of 1992.

Robrahn said a development called Hourglass Townhomes was approved for the site by the Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission in 2005. It will consist of 11 townhouses in two buildings, one facing Wood River Drive and the other facing Williams Street.

The live-fire training on May 12 allowed hands-on training in extreme but controlled fire conditions.

"This type of training property is hard to come by these days in Ketchum," said Ketchum Fire Chief Mike Elle in a press release. "We are losing all of our open spaces and other training facilities that are crucial to the continued training for first responders. That is why we really want the community to know how much these donations mean to the city's continual commitment to the safety of our residents, visitors and responders."

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