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For the week of December 19 - 25, 2001


South county wants recreation facilities

Express Staff Writer

A majority of Blaine County residents want a teen center, indoor pool, recreation center, non-motorized trails and golf courses to be built between Hailey and Gannett, a new survey reveals.

Most residents declined to propose ways to pay for those facilities, but a majority of those who did, or 106 people, offered from $20 to $25 a month of their own money.

The Blaine County Recreation District mailed out 14,000 of the surveys in October to find out what kinds of recreation people like, where they would like it and how they would pay for it. The Rec District plans to use the 1,001 responses it got back to help plan projects and new services over the next 10 years.

Survey results are complex and invite a variety of interpretations. But "one of the things that hit home for me was people reiterating they want small facilities in their home towns," Rec District director Mary Austin Crofts told its board Thursday.

Crofts said thatís why she believes voters would never approve a bond to finance one major facility in one location.

But the area around Hailey, where the countyís population is concentrated, will no doubt be a powerhouse in any planning. Hailey residents returned 37 percent of the surveys, while Ketchum returned 21 percent. Sun Valley returned 8 percent and Bellevue 6.

The highest number of respondents, 27 percent, indicated they would drive up to 10 miles to facilities, which would put any facility in Hailey just out of range of Ketchum and Sun Valley.

One recreation opportunity that a majority of people wanted somewhere other than in the mid-valley was trails for motor vehicles. The Carey-Picabo area was the preferred location for 164 respondents, while the area from Gannett to Hailey was the preferred area for 133 respondents.

Financial support for new facilities was also strongest in the Hailey-Bellevue area, with nearly 40 percent indicating they would vote for public funding for a teen center, recreation center or indoor pool.

An override election or bond issue, two options that would increase taxes to raise money, would require from 51 percent to 66.6 percent voter approval.

Crofts and the Rec District board are still reviewing some 30 pages of written comments from respondents.

Those remarks and a series of meetings with some of the respondents will also help the rec. district to come up with a plan for the next decade.

The meetings are scheduled to begin in January.


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.