The familiar cry of Ketchum's preservationists has become increasingly louder as newer projects seek to move our town into the 21st century. New developments have been sabotaged by old-timers who prefer to live in the memory of our heyday, some 40 years ago. The proposed plans for rebuilding Whiskey's should bring a smile to these old-fashioned conservationists, but alarm those of us who want Ketchum to live up to its potential.
The new plans have been praised for upholding the character of the space while adding new features. But the rushed design fails to fix the existing flaws: an odd entry sequence, a dance floor riddled with steps, ramps and posts, a sorry excuse for a stage, etc. And the addition of the second floor as proposed will effectively spread the patrons thin, creating a space as haunting as the downstairs of the Roosevelt or the late Mint.
Whiskey's can improve its legacy by creating the ultimate music and dance venue, establish a real restaurant space and amplify the sports environment. All of this can be easily achieved through the creation of a real stage with a real dance floor, a dedicated eating area upstairs and better organization of televisions and the sound systems.
But to cement Whiskey's as a mainstay on Main Street, the owners should go even further by making a place for bands to stay or creating an affordable place for employees to live. In fact, no one would complain if the owners put in a luxury penthouse to offset the cost of the development.
Ketchum desperately needs Whiskey's to be rebuilt. But please, take more time in making the right design decisions. If Whiskey's is built the same way as it was, it will only keep Ketchum stuck in the past wondering how to get back to the future.