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For the week of Oct. 27, 1999 through Nov. 2, 1999

Grab rec deal while it’s hot

The $11.8 million 20-year bond issue for recreation facilities deserves voter support.

The facilities are a something-for-everyone opportunity.

The proposed facilities include a community pool and hot springs in Ketchum; a recreation center in Hailey that will include enclosure of the existing pool; a new gym and a teen center; mid-valley playing fields in Ohio Gulch; and money for small projects to be determined by residents in Carey, Picabo and Gannett.

Some voters are asking, "Why?" But the real question is "Why not?"

The tax increase required is eminently affordable. Financial feasibility studies predict that entry fees will pay for operations, and the facilities themselves will only cement the area’s reputation as a recreational mecca. What’s not to like?

The Wood River Valley is known for its residents intense participation in sports and recreation—indoors and out. After seeing sheep hit record high speeds sprinting down Ketchum’s Main Street during the Trailing of the Sheep event, one local wag said, "Leave it to the valley to make Trailing of the Sheep an aerobic event." What better place for a set of topnotch sports facilities?

The warm pools in Ketchum will become yet another attraction for visitors and a unique amenity for residents.

The gym-pool-teen facility near the high school is tailor-made for Hailey and Bellevue family-centered lifestyles.

The playing fields in mid-valley will take pressure off overburdened existing fields and allow for some growth in local sports clubs and leagues.

Financially, the bond is a good deal. At $12.85 per $100,000 of property value—over and above what property owners are paying now—the additional tax is eminently affordable as well as deductible from federal income taxes.

The deal is particularly good for residents of Hailey and Bellevue. By generating $1 million in taxes to enclose the existing pool and to build and equip a gym, teen center and workout rooms, the cities will host a $5.8 million facility. That should go a long way toward alleviating the ongoing north county-south county rivalry over where tax money is spent.

Compared to private facilities, memberships in the public facilities will be highly affordable. In Hailey, the $50-a-month rate for a family of four is less than individual rates at private health facilities. Also, the Rec District has promised that no child will be refused entrance because of inability to pay.

The new facilities will round out the valley’s recreational amenities and expand opportunities for young people at an affordable price. Voters should grab this deal while it’s hot.


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Copyright 1999 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.