Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ketchum should stick to its comprehensive plan

    Ketchum’s new Comprehensive Plan is an excellent document. It expresses a positive vision for the city’s future based on real possibilities, a clear view of what residents seek, and awareness of the city’s limitations. Planner Joyce Algaier has done an excellent job capturing the best of Ketchum’s values and goals in a very readable document.
    It is sad that the city’s actions already contradict the newly approved plan. Even as it was being written, ex-Mayor Randy Hall was touting the construction of an expensive amusement area at the mouth of Hulen Meadows, despite the Comprehensive Plan’s many and detailed persuasive commitments to protect and maintain Ketchum gateways, natural open spaces, water resources, state Highway 75’s Scenic Corridor (which Hulen Meadows abuts), rural values, and clustered neighborhoods, among others.  
    Now, Mayor Nina Jonas and the council are pursuing the same path that contributed to defeating Hall. It has spent $314,000 of taxpayer funds and $277,000 in private money planning the park—that’s $600,000, not including items like paid studies, thousands of Ketchum staff hours, public education costs, etc.  Mind you, the project is yet to be approved by the BLM, which owns the land. Construction is low-ball estimated at $2,500,000; a maintenance budget has yet to be determined.
    Why would the City so quickly void the work put into the Comprehensive Plan to capture and express citizens’ values?  And in such a bald way.  Why?                                        
Jima Rice
Hulen Meadows
Blaine County


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