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For the week of August 1 - 7, 2001


Be wary of gift horse

The city of Ketchum should look the Bill Janss Community Center gift horse in the mouth.

The city should be wary of the $14 million recreation center.

Organizers have asked the city to donate property for the center, to assume ownership once itís built, to contribute $658,000 a year for 20 years to cover the facilityís construction debt and to operate the center.


Operating losses are projected in the first years of operation with no guarantee that the necessary subsidies would ever go away.

Given the numbers, the city should take all the time it needs to ask itself whether subsidizing public indoor recreation should be a top priority.

Thatís a thorny question in a city that canít seem to muster the funds for other basic public needs including downtown sidewalks, buried power lines, parking structures, restoration of an old community church, construction of affordable housing and expansion of KART bus service down valley.

With an array of offerings from an ice rink to hot pools, The Janss Center would be a jewel.

Before it commits any money, the city should make it clear to taxpayers where it would come from and what projects or city services might not be funded as a result, especially if operations lose money.

The council should make sure the cityís priorities are clear before it gives this project a green light.

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.