The Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency opted to take immediate action on Monday, voting unanimously to begin spending its $450,000 budget on projects in town that can be completed by local companies.
The board was presented with eight projects, crafted by Chair Susan Scovell and Vice Chair Ed Johnson with help from city staff, that could begin this summer and improve public infrastructure. Projects ranged from replacing pavers from Walnut Street to Washington Street, to adding wayfinding signage throughout the agency’s boundaries.
Ultimately, the board decided on three major projects.
First, the KURA voted to allocate $150,000 for improving ADA-compliant curbs and $75,000 for a new crosswalk system at Fourth Street and Main Street from a pedestrian activated light to a “HAWK” system—"high intensity activated crosswalk”—a traffic control device that stops road traffic to allow pedestrians to cross safely. The new system would create a safer environment for pedestrians and stop road traffic only as needed, Ketchum City Administrator Susan Frick said.
Frick also explained to the board that the Idaho Department of Transportation has said it would pay for an upgrade to Sun Valley Road and Main Street to allow for a “scramble” crosswalk system, which would stop all traffic at once and allow for pedestrians and cyclists to cross any way they want.
The Board also allocated $25,000 to improved pedestrian and bicycle access on Fourth Street, if Ketchum City Council ever votes to shut down a portion of the street to vehicles, to create more space for social distancing and pedestrian walking space. Board member and Ketchum City Council member Amanda Breen said the council did not have it on the agenda for its Monday meeting, but said she would bring up the point to her fellow councilmembers to discuss, given the funding that the URA wanted to contribute.
Lastly, Frick told the board that beginning next month, meetings can return to taking place in the city’s chambers, rather than virtually. Moving forward, board members and members of the public will have the option of accessing the meetings virtually or attending in person.