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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of Aug 28 - Sept 3, 2002


Rec District adopts 10-year plan

Express Staff Writer

Following adoption of its Ten-Year Recreation Facilities Plan on Thursday, the Blaine County Recreation District will begin to make decisions on how to renovate the current Wood River High School.

The district’s board of directors adopted the plan after completion of a county-wide recreation needs survey last year and three public hearings early this summer.

When the new high school opens in September 2003, use of the old building will be shared by the Rec District and College of Southern Idaho. Tentative plans for the district’s portion include public use of the gyms, a teen center and district offices. Renovation cost is projected to be $50,000 to $100,000, with the work slated to begin next summer and be completed by fall.

Additional short-term projects included in the 10-year plan are creation of a south-county trails system and construction of a shallow pool for children at the Blaine County Aquatic Center. The oblong, 3,500-square foot pool would cost $627,000, plus $140,000 for a tall slide with three 360-degree turns in it.

However, the district was informed Monday that it was not awarded a $300,000 grant from the Idaho Parks and Recreation Department’s Land and Water Conservation Fund. District Executive Director Mary Austin Crofts said that means the district will need to find another funding source for the proposed pool

Major projects during the next three to 10 years involve the proposed Bill Janss Center on the park-and-ride lot in Ketchum and the 5B Sports and Recreation Center on the rodeo grounds site in Hailey. The district has given backers of both projects two years to secure funding.

The plan states that if those efforts are not successful, the district will pursue construction of similar facilities with each city government. Proposals for both towns would include an outdoor pool, gymnasium, fitness center and indoor skating rink.

Also during Thursday’s meeting, the district’s Galena Advisory Committee decided upon four projects as its priorities during the next year. They are:

·  Research a cost comparison between using the old Broadway Bridge as a replacement for the current Murphy’s Bridge, and building an entirely new bridge. The Murphy Bridge crosses the Big Wood River north of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area building. It is too narrow for use by the winter trail grooming machine. The old Broadway Bridge is stored on the park-and-ride lot in Ketchum, and board members agreed they will need to make a decision quickly to be able to inform the city of their plans. "People are fed up with looking at that piece of property as a junkyard," board member Keith Perry acknowledged.

  • Lower the grade on Lois Lane to provide easier access to Senate Creek for beginning skiers.

  • Do stream alteration work to preserve the trail at Easley, which is being eroded by the river.

  • Refurbish the district’s three yurts, on which the outer material is wearing out.

The board also agreed to hire a new staff member, at a salary of about $30,000 per year, as a development director to procure funds for those projects.

"If you’re really serious about getting aggressive and moving forward with those programs, then that’s what we’ve got to have," Crofts said.

Committee member Jim McClatchy said that without new funds, less than $30,000 worth of new projects can be accomplished per year.



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