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The Hailey Urban Renewal Agency will meet this week to discuss extending its reach into what’s now Eccles Flying Hat Ranch, an undeveloped area currently between Hailey and Bellevue.

The Hailey Urban Renewal Agency convened last Thursday to discuss its proposed fiscal 2021 budget allocations and solidify where road-and-path infrastructure is needed most in the city.

The agency’s proposed $464,324 budget for fiscal 2021, up about 13 percent from this year’s budget of $412,524, reflects anticipated revenue collections of $250,000 from its Gateway District, which spans along Main Street from McKercher Boulevard to Fox Acres Road.

On Thursday morning, the budget will be presented at a public hearing for possible approval.

Like other urban renewal agencies across the country, the Hailey URA funds infrastructure improvements via tax-increment financing, a tool used to redirect tax revenues from rising property values back into infrastructure projects.

Under the Hailey URA’s proposed fiscal 2021 budget, $150,000 would go to capital improvement projects along River and Maple streets.

The projects would improve pedestrian safety on both streets, URA Executive Director Lisa Horowitz said. Of the $150,000 in capital project funding, she said, $84,600 is currently earmarked for street and sidewalk improvements on Maple Street near the forthcoming Blaine Manor housing project and for a new road connection between Campion Ice House and Blaine Manor. The remaining $65,400 is expected to go toward River Street design plans and other small projects.

Last month, the URA proposed adding two potential renewal districts—one along Airport Way and the other in the South Woodside area—to help revitalize Hailey’s southern half. The board reopened that conversation on Thursday.

Board member­ and Hailey Mayor Martha Burke said she supported the idea of a South Woodside renewal district to improve roads and storm drainage in the light-industrial area.

“It looks like a pig’s breakfast down there. It’s just not an attractive place,” she said. “In the future, we could draw more businesses to the area if it looked halfway decent—it would be nice to have sidewalks, a finished product, before the area falls into greater decay.”

Earlier this year, the URA proposed a South Woodside “Subdistrict B,” which would have encompassed over 100 acres of the Eccles Flying Hat Ranch east of state Highway 75 and reimbursed future developers for sidewalk and utility fees. That plan was derailed, however, after the Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission concluded on July 23 that the Flying Hat Ranch should go entirely to Bellevue per the landowner’s wishes.

Still, URA board members agreed on Thursday that 27 acres of the Eccles property should be used to develop a multi-use sports complex—an idea floated by both cities’ mayors. The hope for the complex is “some type of joint management” between the cities of Hailey and Bellevue, Horowitz said.

“The [sports complex] checks a lot of boxes, as both cities desire separation and both of us have a need for more useable park space,” Bellevue Mayor Ned Burns said in a Tuesday interview.

Also discussed Thursday was the possibility of establishing a new Airport Way renewal district, which would involve building a new bike path on Broadford Road to improve pedestrian safety.

Board member Walt Denekas said the Airport Way area wasn’t “dilapidated” enough to qualify for a new renewal district.

“It’s not like River Street, he said. “If you look at the buildings, they’re mostly in good repair. Many are relatively new.”

Email the writer: ejones@mtexpress.com

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