Friday, July 6, 2007

Fourth Street Corridor opening kicks off party

Town party?s on new public space


Community leaders drop the ribbon on a new, more pedestrian-friendly era in Ketchum. From left to right, Ketchum City Administrator Ron LeBlanc, Community Development Corporation Interim Executive Administrator Joy Kasputys, CDC Board President Neil Bradshaw, Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall and CDC Design Team Leader Dale Bates share the honors. Photo by Willy Cook

The cruiser bikers were ready, the balloons were filled and the beer was cold. All it took was a short speech from the mayor and for a group of city leaders and volunteers to untie a ribbon, and the Ketchum Fourth Street Heritage Corridor was opened.

Joy Kasputys of the city's Community Development Corporation did the honors with the help of Mayor Randy Hall, City Administrator Ron LeBlanc and scores of volunteers. The ribbon dropped. The sun beat down, and several dozen men, women and children on cruiser bikes laid rubber to the new asphalt as balloons drifted overhead.

In brief remarks to several hundred people present before the ribbon dropped, Hall called the completion of the two blocks the first piece of a puzzle for a pedestrian-friendly environment.

"It's been a lot of work, but I think it's looking pretty good," he said.

The opening of the two blocks from Walnut to Leadville avenues is the first part of a planned corridor running through the heart of downtown Ketchum. It cost about $900,000, and the entire eight-block section from Spruce to Second avenues is projected to cost $4.5 million.

Architect Dale Bates, the lead on the town design team and also a member of the Community Development Corporation, called the two blocks the "first civic-village place that Ketchum has ever had." The library block, to the east, is scheduled to be completed by fall of 2008. After that will be the three blocks to the post office, Bates said.

After the cruiser parade the crowd settled in to enjoy six hours of music from several different bands. Children enjoyed a Kids' Carnival. The crowd sipped wine and beer and munched on hot dogs, hamburgers and brats. After dark a traditional Fourth of July fireworks display from Sun Valley lit up the skies.

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