Friday, December 13, 2013

City to unveil river park designs

Ketchum wants public comments on proposal


     Design concepts for the city of Ketchum’s proposed River Park at Sun Peak, to be located north of the city near Hulen Meadows, will be presented at a meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18, at Hemingway Elementary School.

     Plans for the park—which would be created in partnership with the Wood River Land Trust and other stakeholders—call for restoration of wildlife habitat, reduction of flooding risk to downstream properties, and creation of a whitewater park, as well as other recreation enhancements. It would be located on property currently managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management.

     S2o Design and Engineering, a whitewater park design firm in Lyons, Colo., is at the 60 percent mark of its contract with the city to create design drawings and concepts for the park, said Jennifer Smith, Ketchum director of parks and recreation.

     “We encourage members of the public to give us their comments on the plans created so far,” she said.

     The park would offer trails, river and pond access, habitat and riparian restoration, wildlife viewing, dog play areas and whitewater features along approximately 1,500 feet of the Big Wood River.

     Private donors have raised $125,000 of the expected total cost of the $2.3 million project, and are expected to pay the majority of the construction costs, Smith said. The City hopes to begin construction in 2014 or 2015.

     Meanwhile, S2o subcontractor GeoEngineers is working on an environmental assessment for the project in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

     The whitewater portion of the proposed park would increase recreational opportunities in the early spring and summer floating seasons. Whitewater parks in other areas have generated more than $2 million annually in revenue to local businesses, such as restaurants, hotels and sporting goods stores, the city said.

     The city applied to the BLM in 2008 to use the land under the federal Recreation and Public Purposes Act. Before making a decision, BLM requires a detailed analysis of all proposed elements, such as drop structures for whitewater play and pathways, and locations of a foot bridge, accessible fishing structure, restrooms and other amenities.

     More information can be found at or by calling the Ketchum Parks & Recreation Department at 726-7820.

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