Wednesday, February 12, 2014

River park would benefit programs for U.S. veterans

    We at Higher Ground Sun Valley feel strongly that the proposed parking area for the River Park at Sun Peak is a positive improvement that will allow people of all abilities to enjoy one of the valley’s great resources.
    The BLM has mandated that the river park be a park for everyone to enjoy. As it stands, there is no access for our family, friends and neighbors who use wheelchairs and other mobility aids. In an effort to make a plan that would be inclusive for people of all abilities, the city of Ketchum invited Higher Ground to be a formal part of the River Park at Sun Peak planning process. We worked closely and diligently with the city, incorporating suggestions from Hulen Meadows residents to downsize and to limit the parking by the pond.
    In a recent Mountain Express letter to the editor on Jan. 22, Jima Rice noted her objections to the plan. We feel that despite her objections, the current plans are comprehensive and considerate of all parties involved. As it stands, the heart of the plan to make the river park inclusive, which involves adding a third parking lot on the west side of the river, in addition to the two existing lots. The primary parking for the majority of the park’s visitors will remain on the east side. The new parking area will include ADA-compliant parking and a family drop-off area that will provide direct access to the pond. Higher Ground feels the proposed parking area is essential for our participants and community members who use wheelchairs, and all park visitors who need accessible parking. This way, all who are looking to utilize the pond for recreational activities—including kayak lessons, stand-up paddle boarding, fishing, etc.—will have access. In the design process, we have been cognizant of Hulen Meadows homeowners’ concern about parking on the road adjacent to the pond, as well as the safety issues for pedestrians crossing the roads. It is this concept that has led the design for primary parking next to the highway, and a small lot for family drop-off and accessible parking on the west side of river north of the pond.
    This river park is a real opportunity for all in the valley to appreciate what this amazing area has to offer. If you would like greater details, we encourage you to please visit, where you will find current information and a map of the proposed changes. On behalf of Higher Ground, we thank you for your support.
Sean McEntee
Higher Ground Sun Valley
Director of Military Programs


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