19-09-27 hailey land swap WF.jpg

A deal with the School District will allow an end to snow storage at Lion’s Park.

The Hailey City Council voted Monday to exchange valuable water rights and a well site property in Northridge subdivision—a nearly $600,000 value—for a parcel owned by the Blaine County School District in Croy Canyon that will be used for snow storage.

According to City Attorney Christopher Simms, the deal would eliminate snow storage at Lions Park to allow for eventual cleanup of the park and reduce the use of potable treated city water for irrigation.

The Hailey Greenway master plan calls for possible development of a water park at Lions Park.

“We think this is a good deal for the city, for the School District and for taxpayers,” Simms said. “It is also environmentally sound.”

The council voted after a closed-door executive session to sign a memorandum of understanding that would transfer the irrigation water rights and improved well site, valued at $593,000 total, in exchange for a 28-acre parcel of School District property about a mile west of Hailey along Croy Canyon Road.

Under the draft agreement, the city would also receive $127,000 in cash, the estimated difference in value in the exchange.

The deal is subject to the School District’s approval, and to approval by Blaine County for a conditional-use permit for snow storage at the Croy Canyon site.

According to Simms, a portion of the water rights transferred to the School District would be used to switch irrigation at the Nelson ballfields to nonpotable well water.

The School District has already spent $40,000 to improve the Northridge well site to irrigate its property near the Hailey Middle School. The district has leased water rights at Northridge under an agreement with the city since 2016.

Email the writer: tevans@mtexpress.com

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