Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hailey sets focus on downtown core

Boise Mayor David Bieter to speak at Liberty Theatre

Express Staff Writer

Discussions about the future of downtown Hailey will include River Street, above. Photo by Mountain Express

Hailey is known by many tourists as "the next town down the road" from the more well-known cities of Ketchum and Sun Valley, but in recent years the city has come into its own, celebrating its 19th-century architecture and promoting recreation and retail opportunities all its own.

Hailey officials are hoping to further promote the town's unique characteristics with improvements to the downtown area that will attract businesses and visitors.

The Hailey Planning Department and a group of citizens appointed by Mayor Rick Davis have been working for the last four months on a draft downtown plan. The plan could shape development and economic strategies in the central business district into the foreseeable future.

The first of several meetings to finalize the downtown plan will take place at the Liberty Theatre on Friday, June 11, from 6-8 p.m. Boise Mayor David Bieter will deliver a keynote address titled "The Importance of Downtowns to Community Vitality and Success." A community discussion and reception will follow.

The area referred to in the draft plan encompasses eight blocks of Main Street between Pine and Galena streets, stretching from River Street in the west to First Avenue in the east. The draft plan recommends many options for improving the area, including reconfiguring Main Street, building sidewalks and developing vacant property on River Street, increasing parking and pedestrian opportunities, and implementing public art projects.

The plan also calls for an official "branding" of the city of Hailey and construction of a central town plaza where residents and visitors would naturally gather.

"The town plaza idea has been talked about for years, but never addressed specifically," said Hailey Planning Director Beth Robrahn.

She said she hopes many residents and business owners turn out for the event.

"One of the basic tenets of planning is that downtowns are where things happen—they are the hub of activity," she said. "If this plan can inspire community involvement, it will be good for business and good for the city. It will take partnerships between the city, businesses and residents to make anything happen."

There will be another meeting on the downtown plan at a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting on Monday, June 21, at 6:30 p.m.

A final draft of the plan will be presented to the Hailey City Council on Monday, June 28, at 5:30 p.m.

The draft downtown plan can be viewed on the city's website,

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