18-11-07 town square 1

P&Z Commissioner and soon-to-be City Councilman Jeff Engelhardt proposes a Hailey town square location Monday.

About 30 people showed up to a public workshop Monday to identify preferred locations and amenities for a new town square in Hailey.

Four sites identified by city staff on a map as top options were largely passed over during voting.

A one-block site on First Avenue between Carbonate and Bullion streets gained far more “first choice” votes than a site beside the Hailey Public Library on Croy Street favored by the City Council.

A site on the northeast corner of Croy Street and First Avenue and another site inside a parking lot at Alturas Plaza received the second and third most votes.

How the city responds to those voter preferences remains to be seen.

Community Development Director Lisa Horowitz said city staff will bring the results of two town square workshops this month to the City Council on Nov. 26 as part of the decision-making process.

“It was a very enthusiastic crowd and people were energized about a town square,” Horowitz said. “A common thread [Monday] night was about getting away from Main Street highway noise and impacts.”

Horowitz said the final location will be decided by the City Council.

In 2015, a consultant working with the city identified 12 potential town square sites from River Street to First Avenue in a 10-block downtown area. A survey conducted at that time to identify top sites was based on the expected cost of the site, the amenities desired for the town square and what types of activities residents would like to host there.

The top-ranked preferred amenities were benches, bike racks, summer shade, tables, a drinking fountain and a Christmas tree.

Those 12 sites were winnowed down by city staff to four sites for the Monday workshop, yet public participation yielded several additions or reconsiderations from the earlier list.

Planning and Zoning Commissioner and newly appointed Hailey City Councilman Jeff Engelhardt said he was “going big” by proposing that an entire city block around the old Blaine County Courthouse be redeveloped as a town square.

A second and final town square workshop will take place Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 4:30 p.m. at the Hailey Public Library.

Email the writer: tevans@mtexpress.com

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