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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Friday — February 13, 2004


Simon: Ketchum eyeing downtown changes

Mayor, Chamber seek to keep city ‘vital’

Express Staff Writer

Ketchum Mayor Ed Simon said Thursday he is committed to making improvements to the city’s downtown core to make the area more inviting to tourists and locals alike.

In addressing an informal group called the Ketchum Retailers Alliance, Simon said he and members of the city’s staff want to pursue several projects that would make downtown Ketchum a more "vibrant" and visitor friendly community center.

Simon’s comments were in part a response to a presentation issued last week in Sun Valley by Colorado-based resort consultant Ford Frick, who warned local officials and business operators not to over-regulate Ketchum’s downtown.

"There’s going to be just a little change in the perspective based on Ford Frick’s presentation," Simon said.

The mayor said city planners will consider Frick’s comments as they conduct a rewrite of the city’s "Sign Ordinance" and review how the city manages its public rights-of-way, including sidewalks.

Frick on Feb. 4 said resort cities should avoid excessively stringent sign regulations and should allow some businesses to encroach into public areas.

Simon noted that he favors city policies that allow "sidewalk cafes" and the use of folding "sandwich-board signs" that advertise businesses from sidewalk locations.

"I’m not so sure sandwich-board signs are bad," he said. "They don’t have to be an eyesore."

Simon told a small group of retailers and officials from the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau that he also intends to propose a near-term capital-improvement plan to the City Council later this year. The plan could include improvements to the city’s sidewalk network and improved lighting downtown, he said.

In addition, Simon said, the city intends to:

  • Pursue a plan to put underground several power lines in and around the downtown core.

  • Sponsor a summer concert series similar to one last summer that brought three well-known performers to Ketchum.

  • Consider a plan to convert a one-block section of Washington Avenue—between River and First Streets—into a pedestrian mall, if the proposed 80-room Bald Mountain Lodge is built on an adjacent parcel.

Carol Waller, executive director of the Chamber, said she has earned city support for a plan to install colored "street banners" along Main Street and Sun Valley Road to "welcome" people to Ketchum. The banners will likely be put in place by Memorial Day, she said.

The Ketchum Retailers Alliance meets with Simon the second Thursday of every month. The next meeting is scheduled for March 11, at 8:30 a.m. in Ketchum City Hall. The Alliance encourages the public to attend the meetings.


City of Ketchum

Formula Sports


Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

Premier Resorts Sun Valley

High Country Property Rentals

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.