Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Study: Funding for Croy Canyon Ranch lacking

Those polled support continuing care facility, but said raising $12 million may be difficult

Express Staff Writer

An in-depth feasibility study conducted on behalf of the Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation indicates it will need to find additional sources of philanthropic funding before a proposed $29.5 million continuing-care facility in Croy Canyon can be built.

The study could not identify sufficient support for the foundation's proposed philanthropic campaign goal of $12 million, said the group's executive director, Mary Jo Helmeke. Selected to be a part of the study were 57 people in the Wood River Valley community, many of whom are connected in one way or another to potential sources of philanthropic giving, Helmeke said.

"The financial support is lacking," Helmeke said. "They didn't at this point think we could raise that much."

She said the study does indicate enthusiastic support for the idea of building a long-term continuing-care facility to replace the existing county-run Blaine Manor facility with a new facility on foundation-owned land west of Hailey in Croy Canyon. Of course, that kind of support won't be enough to get the new facility built if enough money isn't found.

"We need to raise more money if we're going to build it," Helmeke said.

She said that during the coming months, the board of the foundation will be meeting with various community leaders to explore additional funding opportunities.

The remaining $17.5 million cost of the Croy Canyon Ranch beyond that identified for philanthropic funding would be achieved through the combination of fees for purchasing the independent living units proposed for the large complex and from funds generated by the sale of Blaine Manor along Main Street in Hailey. Last spring, Blaine County voters overwhelmingly approved a May 22 ballot measure authorizing the county to sell the facility and direct the proceeds of the sale to help pay for the Croy Canyon Ranch.

For now, the county subsidizes the operation of Blaine Manor to the tune of more than $600,000 annually, county officials have said.

Prior to the May vote, Blaine County Commissioner Sarah Michael said the cost of operating Blaine Manor is a financial drain on the county.

"It's too large a portion of our budget," Michael said.

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