Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Despite shutdown, park plans advance

Ketchum to start unveiling design plans for river park


By ERIC AVISSAR
Express Staff Writer


    Ketchum Parks and Recreation Director Jennifer Smith told the City Council Monday that a proposed whitewater park north of the city is moving forward, despite the shutdown of the federal government, one of the key players in the project.
    “The technical aspects of the plan are coming to life now,” Smith said at the meeting. “There is a method to the madness of recreation resource design. I’m not the designer. I’m the resource manager and I know things that are not designed well are going to bring more problems in the long run, so that’s why I’m excited the design conversation is going so well.”
    Smith said consultant S2O design and engineering has made substantial progress on the final design plan since it began working on it in July. She said she is frustrated with the government shutdown because it forced all of the federal employees involved with the project to be furloughed.
    The city of Ketchum is attempting to acquire 316 acres of land adjacent to the Big Wood River near Hulen Meadows from the Bureau of Land Management. In 2008, the city filed for a Recreation and Public Purposes patent for the land while partnering with the nonprofit Wood River Land Trust. In January, the patent for the land grant was put on hold because the BLM told the city it did not have the resources to process the plan.


The technical aspects of the plan are coming to life now.”
Jen Smith
City of Ketchum




    Ultimately, the city wants to construct a whitewater park and recreational area with parking in the Sun Peak area, near the Hulen Meadows Pond.
    Smith said she plans on unveiling 60 percent of the design plan for the public in October or November. The unveiling will occur in a public setting with the entire design team involved, she said. She encouraged the public to comment on detailed elements of the plan and to stay engaged with the process.
    Aquatic biologist Steve Fisher, who’s worked with Smith on the project, said the proposed park has room for improvement, but he is still strongly in support of the acquisition.
    “I have always been a proponent of the whitewater park and I have always been a proponent of cleaning out Hulen Meadows Pond before anyone else knew it was necessary,” Fisher said. “I’d like to thank Jen (Smith) and the mayor (Randy Hall) for pointing out that if anyone has a problem with this, then they should get together with their representatives, sit down and talk to them about it. An open forum like this is where I want to give my support. There are still some things that need to be fixed, and other things we need in this project.”
    In a staff report for the meeting, Smith said that following a kick-off meeting between S2O design and engineering and the city, five conference calls have taken place with the design team and the client. After setting a target date for Aug. 6 to complete the project’s environmental assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act, the assessment was officially completed on Aug. 19.
    Smith also wrote of new public outreach and education efforts for the proposed whitewater park. There is a panel detailing the park at Ketchum Town Square, along with an updated page about the plan on the city’s website. Mayor Randy Hall also has formed a task force that has agreed to provide information and solicit feedback from citizens and community groups. The BLM will also provide written notice of public opportunities to comment on the project, city officials said.
Eric Avissar: eavissar@mtexpress.com




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2014 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

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.