Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cities endorse bike path levy

Hailey, Bellevue support $3.5 million plan

Express Staff Writer

    The proposed levy to improve the Wood River Trail bike path continues to gain support, as the cities of Bellevue and Hailey endorsed the $3.5 million measure last week.
    The Blaine County Recreation District proposed the $3.5 million levy in late February, asking taxpayers to support collecting the money to resurface the decades-old trail. The levy will be voted on in a special election on Tuesday, May 21.
    The most recent section of the trail was last surfaced in 1988, when a county bond helped pay for the entire southern section. Recreation District Executive Director Jim Keating said in February that the trail is marred by cracking, root protrusions and other flaws.
    A citizen group called Champions of the Wood River Trails lobbied for the levy at a Hailey City Council meeting on Monday, April 15. Hailey Mayor Fritz Haemmerle said he wholeheartedly supports the work of the BCRD and the levy.
    “The bike path, in my mind, is probably the best, if not one of the best, assets of the Wood River Valley,” he said. “It’s probably one of the best bike paths I have ever seen in my life. It is worthy of public support.”
    Hailey Councilwoman Carol Brown also expressed support.
    “I … have an elder parent who, the only way she can get into town is on the bike path in her wheelchair,” Brown said.
    Haemmerle said a formal resolution of support is pending.
    The city of Bellevue formally endorsed the levy later that same night.
    Mary Austin Crofts, chairwoman of Champions of the Wood River Trails, said in a news release that the group is continuing public presentations to educate voters about the levy.
    The group will advocate for the levy to the Sun Valley City Council on Thursday, May 2, and to the Ketchum City Council on Tuesday, May 7.

Kate Wutz:

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