For the week of November 18 thru November 24, 1998  

Ketchum council cuts proposed sidewalk revision


By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer

The Ketchum City Council decided at a Monday meeting to reduce proposed sidewalk, curb and gutter improvements at several downtown sites after hearing objections from business owners and residents.

The construction will be done under a local improvement district (LID), which taxes local property owners. The city will pick up 20 percent of the bill, leaving the remaining 80 percent to the owners. The cost per foot for landowners would be $48.

"It makes no sense to me," said John Neely, resident in one of the proposed improvement sites. "If you want to put a sidewalk in, you pay for it and you shovel it."

Council members did stress, however, that the commercial core of Ketchum needs to be more pedestrian friendly.

Ketchum city planner Lisa Majdiak said there are 250 residences in the commercial core.

"How can we make (the core) useful and still keep residents happy?" she asked.

David Haousmann, Lefty’s Bar and Grill owner, said he was worried about losing business due to a decrease in parking space.

"Part of my business is its easy accessibility," he said. "I’d lose over half of my parking (if the sidewalks are built)."

Haousmann maintained that he can currently park up to nine cars in nose-end spots.Were the sidewalks to be built, his business would have four parallel parking spots, a loss of five, he said.

Councilwoman Sue Noel agreed.

"There might be some real validity to deleting those three sections," she said in reference to the proposed sidewalks that were planned for Sixth Street in front of and around Lefty’s.

Following comments from affected resident Rod Tatsuno and several other community residents, the council voted to revise the sidewalk improvement plan, eliminating many of the proposed stretches.

The council struck from the plan sidewalks in areas that are primarily residential.

Stretches still slated for improvement are: on the corner of Sixth Street and Leadville near Chic Hippies; the corner of Main and Fifth streets near Formula Sports; in front of Omlay’s on Washington; and on the corner of Fifth and Washington across from the Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities.

The council deleted more than half of the proposed sidewalks and stressed areas that are currently commercial.

"We don’t want the big-city look here in small-town Idaho," Tatsuno said.

Councilwoman Chris Potters agreed.

"I think its charming," she said. " I always have."

 

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