Friday, January 9, 2009

Getting outside help for the economy

Ketchum leaders look to part-time residents as resource

Express Staff Writer

A meeting organized by Ketchum attorney Miles Stanislaw brought together several dozen part-time north valley residents late last month in an effort to tap into an underused human resource that could help revitalize an ailing local economy.

Stanislaw said he organized the meeting at a private residence on Dec. 28 to engage second-home owners and other non-involved members of the community.

"These are trying times and there is a tremendous talent pool that exists here," said Stanislaw, who was a second-home owner for around 35 years before making Ketchum his primary residence last year.

Ketchum City Councilman Baird Gourlay said Stanislaw invited about 75 people. Most were part-time and full-time local residents, but the group also included Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall and Sun Valley Mayor Wayne Willich, as well as fellow Councilman Charles Conn and Sun Valley Councilman Dave Chase. Former Ketchum Councilman Steve Shafran was also in attendance. He gave a short presentation on the state of the economy, Gourlay said.

"The typical second-home owner's a leader in their first community and also feels a strong connection to this area, but they have yet to be asked," Chase said. "There was definitely a positive sentiment that they would love to participate."

Chase said that while the meeting was introductory in nature with no concrete plans having resulted from the conversations, he did hear recommendations for the cities to create more events, especially outside of peak times.

Stanislaw provided the attendees with a questionnaire, which included questions about how to better engage second-home owners, and what kind of services and businesses they would like to see in the valley.

At a City Council meeting on Monday, Ketchum resident Phyllis Shafran asked Hall to hold a town hall-style meeting for all residents. He responded by saying there is time allotted for public comment at the beginning of every council meeting.

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