Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Where to put the $2M maintenance building?

Sun Valley takes iconic red-barn site out of running

Express Staff Writer

Possible locations for a new $2 million Sun Valley street-maintenance building have been narrowed down to three, excluding a previously considered open area behind the iconic red barn on Sun Valley Road near Ketchum.

Nick Latham, of Ruscitto/Latham/Blanton Architecture, looked at each of the seven sites—of about 1.5 acres—to determine which could best accommodate a 7,150-square-foot maintenance building and a turnaround for plow trucks while having the least impact on residential neighborhoods. The current 4,500-square-foot maintenance building has been outgrown.

"This is a site that should be considered," Latham said of the red barn lot while at a site visit with the mayor, City Council and staff on Sept. 7.

He said the site already has a strong industrial influence because of the constantly humming adjacent Idaho Power substation. He said the building would be cheaper to build on the flat land there and could be completely screened from the road using berms and plants.

Despite the site's pros, the council and mayor said they were reluctant to even touch the area.

"Some taxpayers have said that if we mess with this sacred area, they will hang us from that pole up there," said Mayor Wayne Willich while on site and pointing to a power pole near the substation.

"The red barn is a hallowed building," said Councilman Dewayne Briscoe.

"I think with the red barn, you're playing with fire," said Councilman Nils Ribi.

The council decided to further look into placing the building either just south of City Hall along Elkhorn Road, along Parker Gulch Road or adjacent to Elkhorn Golf Course's maintenance building. Latham proposed that the building, if placed at any of these sites, be constructed as an earth shelter set into the hillside, similar to the Elkhorn Fire Station, to make it as unobtrusive as possible.

"Now, we need to get a ballpark idea of how much the land will cost, and if they're even willing to sell," said Councilwoman Joan Lamb of the property owners.

Sun Valley Resort owns the site adjacent to City Hall, Elkhorn Golf LLC owns the golf course site and the Sun Valley Elkhorn Association owns the Parker Gulch site.

If these landowners want too much or won't sell, the city will look into less-preferred sites on Horseshoe Road, Trail Creek Road or adjacent to the Elkhorn Fire Station, which Latham said don't have room for the maintenance department's needs.

Trevon Milliard:

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