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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 Oct 30 - Nov 5, 2002


Ketchum to host Nov. 13 meeting on town center options

Express Staff Writer

Last winter, Ketchum’s town center site was the most controversial piece of property in town, but city leaders want to put the past behind them and determine an agreeable future for the property.

The Ketchum City Council will host a meeting Nov. 13 at 10:30 a.m. to collect citizen opinions and hash out the city’s options.

"We probably have a range of possibilities," Ketchum City Administrator Ron LeBlanc said, adding that the city has not compiled a report on those possibilities.

Last winter, a proposal to build affordable housing on the property eventually fell through because of financing, but only after dozens of citizens dueled for months over the potential three-story, 20-room affordable housing and commercial project.

In general, those who objected to the housing concept said it would destroy the site’s small-town character and would unnecessarily consume its park-like attributes. Those who wanted the project cited the community’s need for affordable housing.

The building on the property, which housed the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber and Visitors Bureau (CVB) until early October, was formerly Ketchum’s city hall. The old city hall is in disrepair and would need extensive and expensive repairs to be saved.

Rod Sievers, Warm Springs resident and a member of the Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission, was among the citizens opposed to the affordable project.

He said he would like to see the property used for "public and civic purposes."

"Specifically, it should be used to house a new city hall, including city administrative offices and meeting space, leaving the existing city hall for expansion of police and fire services," he said. "I think something, two-story maximum, that would preserve the existing trees and the existing visitor center, but still be appropriate for a city administrative site, should be considered."

CVB Executive Director Carol Waller said it doesn’t really matter to the chamber what occurs at the site, so long as a visitor center and brochure storage are incorporated into the plan.

In an agreement approved by the city last week, the chamber will coordinate rentals of the old building’s meeting room in exchange for visitor brochure storage.

"It is imperative that, if something happens to that building, we need to incorporate proper brochure storage in an expansion of that visitor center," Waller said. "There’s no storage in there, and, obviously, it’s an information distribution center."

As for the chamber’s new offices, on the second floor of the Jones Building, above the Burger Grill, Waller said, "It’s a much more safe, professional and efficient work environment for our staff.



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