Ketchum Town Square (copy)

The proposed stretch of Fourth Street includes Ketchum's Town Square, where many summer events would normally take place.

The City Council of Ketchum met this afternoon to vote on whether or not a portion of the city’s downtown core should be closed in order to allow for a pedestrian and cyclist corridor with ample room for social distancing.

The recommendation from Mayor Neil Bradshaw was to approve the closure of Fourth Street from Walnut Avenue to Leadville Avenue for the summer season. According to the recommendation document, included in the city council’s meeting packet, the reasons for the recommendation are because “communities throughout the nation are closing streets to provide space for walking, biking and outdoor dining while maintaining physical distancing” and “Fourth Street is an ideal street for pedestrians and bicyclists and is not a main thoroughfare.”

Bollards would be installed to prevent vehicles from traveling on Fourth Street through the closed area and according to the city, closing the street would not impact traffic circulation as traffic can “easily shift to Fifth Street or Sun Valley Road.”

The Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency has already approved funding for the installation of bollards to facilitate the closure during a meeting they held last month. Therefore, the city's budget will experience no additional impact.

Lastly, although there are no public hearing items on today’s agenda, the city has put out guidelines for the public to give comment in person for future public hearing agenda items. According to the city’s agenda packet, those who would like to give comment on public hearing agenda items may speak to the Council when called upon but will then be asked to leave the Council’s chambers after speaking and to observe the meeting outside City Hall.

According to Assistant City Administrator Lisa Enourato, those who want to provide general public comment for items not on the agenda, are asked to do so by emailing participate@ketchumidaho.org by noon the day of the meeting.

Update at 5:23 p.m.

During today's meeting, the Ketchum City Council approved a recommendation from the mayor to temporarily close down a portion of Fourth Street. This is the city’s first step in total closure of Fourth Street in the future, according to Mayor Neil Bradshaw.

All the councilmembers were in favor of the closure, which will begin immediately and close Fourth Street from Walnut Avenue to Leadville Avenue until either Thanksgiving or when the first snow flies. Ultimately, the councilmembers all agreed that potentially closing the street completely, year around, could be beneficial to the shops in the area and create a pleasant pedestrian corridor for locals and visitors to enjoy the outdoors while maintaining safe social distance.

The city will close the two blocks as soon as possible with planters, but will eventually have a series of bollards closing the streets.

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