Friday, August 20, 2010

City approves $32M capital projects plan

New city hall and fire station top list

Express Staff Writer

The Ketchum City Council approved a five-year, $32 million capital improvements plan on Monday proposed to upgrade city buildings, infrastructure and equipment.

The approved plan is designed to keep up with projected population and tourism increases. The current permanent population of Ketchum is estimated at 3,272. By 2014, city officials expect that number to increase to 3,504. During peak tourism seasons, the city's population roughly doubles, putting increased stress on city services.

The Planning and Zoning Commission served as review body for the planning document. Consultant Randy Young of Henderson Yong & Co. presented the final plan.

"This is not a wish list," Young said. "Most of the items in here are brick-and-mortar issues."

The plan calls for the completion of 66 projects by 2014, including a new $9 million fire station and $3 million city hall. Smaller projects include a $500,000 miniature golf course at Atkinson Park, a $115,000 trail to connect Warm Springs with River Run and a $75,000 expansion of Guy Coles Skate Park.

About $9.6 million of funding for the overall plan is secure, including funding for wastewater treatment facilities, water systems and the parks development. The council expects the rest of the funding to come from development impact fees, donations and grants.

"Once our construction sector of the economy improves, we will have revenue streams from fees that we can put into a capital improvement fund to complete these projects," Mayor Randy Hall said in an interview. "There can also be grants and public-private partnerships."

Freelance reporter Jennifer Liebrum contributed to this report.

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