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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of July 25 - July 31, 2001


City should not stint on Warm Springs path

Pedestrians and cyclists should not miss the opportunity today to review designs for a new bike and pedestrian path on Warm Springs Road. The Ketchum City Council will meet to review the designs at noon at City Hall.

Business people who understand the economics of making sure Ketchum continues to be a town friendly to summer recreation should look over the plans as well.

The design of the first phase is critical because it will determine whether the whole path becomes safe and useable, or whether it will continue to be a poor, patched-together excuse for a path.

Even in a place such as Ketchum where recreation is king, itís easy to take recreation for granted. A state-of-the-art bike and pedestrian path on a heavily used route ought to be a no-brainer. Yet, it isnít.

During peak times, hundreds of people per day use the Warm Springs path despite the fact that it is nothing more than a couple of wide, often crumbling, shoulders. The route leads to many popular places, including the skate park, Atkinson Park, Rotary Park, and Hemingway Elementary School. Itís a crucial two-way link for bicycle commuters and families headed to Penny Lake for a picnic.

The path hosts people of all ages, from babies in strollers to seniors on wheels. Itís been crying for improvement for 25 years. Use is now so heavy the city would be hard-pressed to ignore it and its inherent dangers.

Yet, just when it looked like the Ketchum City Council had mustered the political muscle to get the job done, naysayers appeared. They want only minimal improvement in the popular route, object to the cityís use of the entire public right of way along Warm Springs, and object to the cost of a well-engineered plan.

The city shouldnít pinch pennies on this one. Improvements are long overdue. The city should use the full public right of way to build the safest, most useful bike path possible. If it needs to acquire more property to create safe passage in the vicinity of a narrow bridge over the river, it should do so.

The city shouldnít allow itself to be cowed by property owners along the route who want to continue to commandeer city property for their own private use and financial benefit.

The city should not stint on the creation of a safe pathway. As Ketchum grows, the wisdom of providing the best possible path on a heavily used route will be apparent. Everyone will benefit.

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.