Replacing the tennis courts at Atkinson Park should begin soon, after the Ketchum City Council approved a $236,000 contract Monday.

    The project will replace the existing courts with post-tensioned concrete slab courts, which are superior to the existing asphalt surface, according to a city of Ketchum news release.

    The contract is with Tennis and Track Co. of Salt Lake City, which submitted the low bid in the city’s bid process.

    The project is jointly funded with the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency; each contributed $140,000 to replacing the courts.

    However, the project should only cost $247,000, counting $6,000 in electrical upgrades and $5,000 for court furniture. That leaves the project $32,500 under budget, according to the staff report.

    The work should commence by next week, and the company will spend October laying the post-tensioned slabs. They will have time to harden over the winter, and will be surfaced and striped in the spring.

    The city is also mulling whether to apply the striping for a pickle-ball court, along with the tennis court stripes, Parks and Recreation Director Jen Smith told the City Council on Monday.

    The council held off on approving a $43,000 contract with consultant Wendy Pabich of Water Futures, who has been working with the city on water issues.

    Councilman Baird Gourlay said he wanted more information about Pabich’s services to the city.

    “I really don’t know what Wendy is doing,” Gourlay said, though adding, “I like Wendy. I like what she does.”

    He said the city wasn’t applying the same level of scrutiny to Pabich’s contract as it was to contracts with the Blaine County Housing Authority and Sun Valley Economic Development.

    Pabich’s scope of work entails research and developing a new rate structure for water rates in Ketchum, and assisting the city in responding to water calls.

    City Administrator Suzanne Frick said the city could respond to a water call by paying more expensive attorney fees instead.

    “Dr. Pabich is doing a lot of background and research work,” Frick said. “That water call [filed by the Big Wood & Little Wood Water Users Association and dismissed by the Idaho Department of Water Resources in June] isn’t going away. Sometimes she knows more than the attorneys because of the science of it.”

    Frick said she will have Pabich come before the council and do a presentation on her work at a future council meeting.

    The City Council voted to approve a $56,000 contract with the Ketchum Community Development Corp., which is the organization that operates the Ketchum Innovation Center, a business incubator in downtown Ketchum.

    KIC asked for $75,000 in city funds this year, but Jonas’ budget didn’t include the full amount. Rather, she said the final $19,000 should come from the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency, because of legal limitations the city has in funding private enterprise.

    Frick said Planning Director Micah Austin was working with KIC on obtaining the remaining funds from the KURA.

    The council also approved a $2,500 contract with the Environmental Resource Center, a Ketchum-based nonprofit that handles recycling services at events in town, and an $18,000 contract with Blaine County for GIS mapping services.

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