Wednesday, October 23, 2013

City: Haunted Forest group must contribute

Bellevue nonprofit asked to give money—or tree trimming

Express Staff Writer

    The Bellevue Haunted Forest, now in its seventh year, is expected to draw at least 1,000 people to town for a scary walk through the forested Howard Preserve.
    At $7.50 per ticket, that means about $7,500 could be raised from the event, which has sold out every year.
    The Bellevue City Council now says it’s time the nonprofit organization that benefits from the event pay a $520 park fee, or make an in-kind contribution to the city.
    Haunted Forest representative Tammy Schofield was told as much when she asked the City Council to waive the park-use fee Monday.
    “I think that money needs to be spread around a bit,” said Councilman Larry Plott. “The Fire Department will be down there. That costs the city money.”
    The nonprofit organization Building Balanced Communities in Idaho takes proceeds from the Haunted Forest and gives them to the Friends of the Howard Preserve, an organization that maintains the protected area in which the Haunted Forest takes place.
    Mayor Chris Koch suggested asking the Friends of the Howard Preserve if they would provide Bellevue with $520 worth of tree-trimming services at Memorial Park in downtown Bellevue, in exchange for waiving the park fee.
    “They have cottonwood trees, and we have cottonwood trees,” Koch said.
    The council voted unanimously in support of the plan, which Schofield said she would present to the Friends of the Howard Preserve board.
    In other Bellevue news:
    - The Council authorized Fire Chief Greg Beaver to spend $11,500 on a command vehicle for the Bellevue Fire Department.
    - The council authorized Craig Wolfrom’s Wood River Wave organization to seek a grant from the Blaine County Water and Wildlife Levy Board to build a kayaking feature in the Big Wood River within the Howard Preserve.
    - The council voted to appoint Cory Spackman to the Bellevue Library Board.
    - Councilwoman Janet Duffy spoke in favor of resident Lisa Phillips joining the City Council.
    Phillips, who was present at the Monday meeting, has presented a letter to City Hall stating her interest in taking a seat on the council.    
Tony Evans:

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