The city of Ketchum is working to raise nearly $200,000 by Friday to get a $1 million match in its campaign to purchase and preserve about 65 acres of open space at Warm Springs Ranch.

Earlier this month, a member of the campaign committee offered to match up to $1 million for new donations received by Dec. 31, which would lead to a $1 million reduction in the sales price of the property.

On Tuesday morning, match donations totaled $807,572, leaving $192,428 needed to meet the goal.

“Thanks to our community and the pledge for a matching donation, we are dollars away from reaching the $1 million match,” said Mayor Neil Bradshaw. “There is not much time left, but I feel confident that we will meet this goal through generous year-end giving from those who cherish this property.”

Earlier this year, landowner Bob Brennan offered the city the opportunity to purchase the land northwest of downtown Ketchum at the below-market price of $9 million. The terms included raising at least $4.5 million by Dec. 31 and the remainder by April 28, 2022.

The city set a fundraising goal of $10 million, with $9 million earmarked for the land purchase and $1 million to install an irrigation system and conduct environmental restoration on the site.

In early December, Brennan offered to reduce the sales price of the property by $1 million if $6.5 million is raised in gifts and pledges by Dec. 31. The total fundraising goal would then be $9 million instead of $10 million.

Neil Bradshaw

By mid-December, donations totaled about $4.6 million, surpassing the first threshold of the purchase agreement. If the $1 million in match donations is reached and added to a $1 million match, the campaign would pass the $6.5 million needed to get the price reduction.

If the funds are raised to purchase the property, the land—which would be called Warm Springs Preserve—will be kept in perpetuity as open space as a public park and natural area.

The 78-acre Warm Springs Ranch property—which for many years featured a golf course, tennis courts and a popular restaurant—for the last decade has been used by many people as a park and dog-walking area. It includes Warm Springs Creek, grassy areas and some natural, forested areas near the flanks of Bald Mountain.

Brennan is developing an approximately 14-acre area of the site near Warm Springs Road with lots for single-family homes.

The city’s option agreement to purchase the remainder of the property from Brennan states that the land must be preserved and maintained as a passive park and natural area for the public. It cannot be converted to other uses.

The city has stated that priorities for the preserve would include off-leash dog access, creek and habitat restoration, a new irrigation system, walking trails, informal gatherings and activities, Nordic ski and snowshoe trails, and public restrooms. Restrictions on the property would include development, organized sports and reserved private or commercial events.

If the sale of the 65 acres to the city is not completed, the zoning of the land would allow Brennan—or potentially another developer—to submit applications to develop the seven parcels there. 

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