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The Forest Service warehouse on River Street in Hailey was built in 1936.

If demolition is to be avoided, a historic Forest Service Building at 308 S. River St. in Hailey will need to be moved into storage by Oct. 11 per an agreement with developer Fapo Holdings Idaho, Public Works Director Brian Yeager said during a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Monday.

Fapo Holdings Idaho plans to build a 26-space parking lot on the site to provide parking for the Village at Hailey Center, a mixed-use building at 314 S. River St. 

The first phase of the proposed relocation would involve moving the building and storing it on timber sleepers at an as-yet undecided location, presumably on the west side of the Hailey Police Department parking lot, Yeager said. The second would move it onto a permanent foundation in Roberta McKercher Park; the third would allow the building to reopen with limited access; and the fourth would allow public entry after a series of renovations. Altogether, moving and restoring the building would carry a price tag of about $996,300, according to estimates from Ben Young Landscape Architects and BlissArchitecture.

In separate P&Z and Arts and Historic Preservation Committee meetings Monday, the anticipated costs of relocation were met with disappointment.

“While they would like to see the building saved, the Arts Commission did not feel they could, in good conscience, recommend relocation at the prices listed, especially during this pandemic,” Community Development Director Lisa Horowitz said. “To just get the building to its location without being open to the public would cost $272,000.”

Horowitz added that the Arts and Historic Preservation Committee is seeking a private contractor to move the building at a lower cost.

On Monday, P&Z Commissioner Dustin Stone ques-tioned the estimates set by the architecture firms.

“Have you seen an excavation and backfill price tag on a similar building? We’re just talking about a flat slab here,” he said.

The Forest Service building relocation was part of a larger discussion Monday between the P&Z and Development Impact Fee Committee regarding the city’s 2021 capital improvement plan, which will go before the City Council next Monday for approval. Ultimately, the P&Z declined to approve the city’s budgeted $40,000 for the first phase of relocation but signed off on other upcoming projects and their associated costs.

Those include building a new snow storage site out Croy Canyon, constructing South Woodside Park, renovating the fire station and proceeding with the city’s $3.5 million, multi-block River Street improvement plan.

According to Yeager, the proposed snow storage site—which the city hopes to acquire by August and use in tandem with Lions Park—is about a quarter mile west of Hailey on land owned by the Blaine County School District. He said the city and the School District are waiting for completion of a water right transfer that will be exchanged for the property.

The estimated cost of construction for South Woodside Park, to be located near an ARCH Community Housing four-plex site, is $75,000, Yeager said. He said the city has allocated about $3,550 in park in-lieu fees from the Lupine subdivision to South Woodside Park and will depend on fees coming in from upcoming projects to fund the project.

Yeager said park in-lieu funds are fixed and can’t be applied to other expenses.

“If someone is not constructing a park on their property, we take that fee and hold it in reserve, waiting to apply it to a new city park or other park infrastructure as needed,” he said. “It’s not available for something like new fire equipment or a new sanding truck.”

If it’s approved by the council, the city will put $82,500 in earmarked funds toward a project that would upgrade the Hailey fire station’s windows, doors and roof to better withstand severe weather. A FEMA grant that the city has applied for would cover 75 percent of the total cost of $330,000, Yeager said.

City Administrator Heather Dawson said in an email that the upgrade will strengthen the facility against seismic and wind activity and snow loads.

Yeager said the city has already received a $2 million federal grant for its forthcoming River Street upgrade project, which aims to improve the commuting experience for pedestrians and cyclists. The Hailey Urban Renewal Agency may be able to contribute up to $1.5 million for construction, he said.

Yeager added that construction has been scheduled by the Idaho Transportation Department for 2024. Though the concept design phase wrapped up last year, the city is still negotiating the scope and fee estimate for the project’s final design with the state Local Highway Technical Assistance Council, or LHTAC.

“This is still subject to LHTAC, ITD and council approval,” he said.

Yeager also highlighted the city’s capital improvement projects completed during the past two construction seasons, including a conceptual design of River Street Bike Paths, new drainage channels constructed along War Eagle Drive to protect Della View subdivision from flooding and a Hailey Rodeo Arena floor refurbishment. The city’s Pathways for People project has made a number of successful connections, he said, one being a new link between Myrtle Street, the Wood River Trail System and Main Street.

“From Hailey Elementary to Myrtle Street, reports have been mostly positive so far,” he said.

A proposed project to expand the bike path along east Croy Street from the Wood River Trail System to Eastridge Drive would cost over $500,000, but the city would only need to earmark about $48,000 to match a federal Transportation Alternatives Program grant.

For a complete list of proposed projects in Hailey, visit tinyurl.com/yalst38t.

Email the writer: ejones@mtexpress.com

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