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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of March 12 - 18, 2003


End battle between North and South

It’s time to face some obvious facts.

While not as grievous a victim of sprawl as many other resorts, Wood River Valley development has mimicked other American cities.

Though the map shows that there are three cities within the Wood River Valley, there’s really only one.

The commercial hub of the city is Ketchum, the entrance to Bald Mountain, where businesses and customers congregate. Sun Valley is both suburb and hotel. Hailey and Bellevue are suburbs, with all of their advantages and disadvantages.

The fact that the valley is really one city drives people crazy. Why? Because every valley community wants to view itself as separate and distinct from the others. Yet, they’re not.

When the Ketchum economy has a cold, the rest of the valley has pneumonia. Sun Valley, Ketchum, Hailey and Bellevue need one another like a heart needs blood and blood needs a heart. Yet, they often treat one another with the mutual disdain afforded enemies.

The heart often insists the blood has no effect on its survival. The blood emphasizes that the heart has absolutely nothing to do with its vitality.

Getting beyond the bickering that has characterized the politics of North and South since 1939, the year Sun Valley Resort was created, will not be easy. A good first step would be for local leaders in government, schools and community organizations to acknowledge the fact that we are one community—and begin to act like it.

With this acknowledgement, the valley could do the things it needs to do without the strife that characterizes local politics today. What would change?

Ketchum and Sun Valley could face the fact that businesses and construction would come to a standstill without the men and women who commute from Hailey and Bellevue every day.

Bellevue and Hailey could face the fact that their well being is inextricably tied to the north and appreciate it.

Instead of trying to duck the responsibility for funding even a limited valley-wide bus system, Ketchum and Sun Valley would allocate a portion of their healthy local option taxes for its support. Bellevue and Hailey would assist by helping to organize park and ride systems in their communities, perhaps on city streets.

Instead of engaging in political warfare over the location of a proposed YMCA, residents would do the simple arithmetic that shows that the Y will need revenue streams from both locals and visitors to survive. They will face the fact the Y can’t get both in Hailey.

Taking the attitude that "we are one" would soften the rhetoric, bring common sense to local issues and make the valley a nicer place to live.


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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.