Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ketchum gives CDC $57K to better the city

CDC plans to construct business-resource website, second affordable-housing project and more


By TREVON MILLIARD
Express Staff Writer

The Ketchum City Council wrote a $57,000 check on Monday to the nonprofit Ketchum Community Development Corp., hiring it to spend $20,000 constructing a website as a businesses resource, use $12,000 to pursue a second affordable-housing project and act on four other tasks.

The CDC is a volunteer-based organization—led by a paid executive director—seeking to improve the community on four fronts: economic development, affordable workforce housing, town design and energy solutions.

Economic development will receive the largest chunk as the CDC tries to attract location-neutral businesses into the town and surrounding area. A website will be constructed to provide information on area demographics, schools and targeted industries, as well as the structure of local and state taxes. The CDC said the website will be based largely on Idaho Falls' website of the same purpose, growidahofalls.com.

As for affordable housing, the CDC attained $9 million in tax credits from the Idaho Housing and Finance Association in 2009 to build Northwood Place. This complex of 32 units is about done, and the CDC is planning another, possibly at the city-owned parking lot at the corner of Sixth Street and Leadville Avenue. The CDC will use $12,000 in city money for planning and public outreach.

Allowing Ketchum's workers to live in the town is a CDC priority, but the organization also wants to attract those having second homes here to be more involved. To do so, the CDC is mailing invitations to these part-time residents for an event in December, when many of these people are here. The CDC said the event is meant to be an opportunity to hear the worries and perspectives of this demographic concerning the town. The mailers and event will cost a total $6,000.

The CDC also wants to get the younger residents more involved and is hiring a public relations consultant at $1,000 a month for four months with the goal of increasing community awareness of the CDC and its current efforts.

A $15,000 chunk will go toward various initiatives to reduce energy consumption. About $3,700 will be spent to replace the visitor center's 36 fluorescent lights with more efficient ones. Annual electricity savings would total $839, with $720 more saved because of less maintenance and burned-out bulbs. The CDC estimates it will take 29 months for the new lights to pay for themselves.

The CDC will also install a solar-powered streetlight near Fourth Street and Fifth Avenue that won't even be connected to the grid. The light collects power during the day and then automatically turns on at night. The streetlight and installment will cost $6,000, but the CDC asked for $1,000 more to kick off a fundraising campaign to buy more streetlights. The CDC hopes it can use this streetlight as an example and then raise enough money to buy more.

The CDC is also installing two solar panels—costing a total $4,000—on top of Leroy's Ice Cream in the Ketchum Town Square, but these panels won't be enough to take Leroy's off the grid. The CDC received $1,300 more to use Leroy's to promote alternative energy.

Trevon Milliard: tmilliard@mtexpress.com




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