Ketchum’s existing City Hall should not be off the table as a potential site for a new or upgraded fire station.
Yet, Mayor Neil Bradshaw arbitrarily called on the City Council on Monday to sell the property or use it for housing.
Ketchum residents may be excused if they feel whiplashed. Ketchum is looking like a bad game of Monopoly with the city bouncing from Park Place to Lose a Turn for no apparent reason.
Bradshaw blazed into office by convincing the city to buy a building for a new City Hall. Then, the city engineered a deal to buy property in the light-industrial zone for community housing. Neighbors threatened to sue, and the city folded.
The mayor also floated the idea of building community housing on the gravel parking area north of the Wood River Community YMCA. Then, he erased that option by proposing the same site or the Y’s south parking lot as fire-station sites.
Unhappy at losing parking, the YMCA is ready to take legal action to enforce its parking agreement with the city.
Both sites are near residential areas, so it’s likely that neighbors will not be happy about a future of fire and ambulance sirens. Yet, the mayor insists that the city should put a multi-million-dollar bond issue for a new fire station before voters.
Ketchum has lots of needs. However, its greatest need is for deliberate and expert planning of big public projects.
The existing City Hall houses today’s fire station and the site shouldn’t be hastily discarded as an option for a new one.
The City Council should grab the mayor’s dice, refuse to let him and his administration Pass Go, and stop him from getting to the Community Chest without a solid plan.
Otherwise, confused and frustrated voters might turn over the game board and leave Ketchum with no options at all.