A space study issued in 2016 put the new Ketchum fire station on Lewis Street.
In May 2019, Jason Shearer, CEO of the YMCA, presented the city-owned Lewis Street lot as an alternative option to the proposed Saddle Road site.
At an open house, prior to the fire station bond vote in November, I viewed plans of the two city-owned plots, identical in size, as potential locations for the new facility, one on Lewis Street and one on Saddle Road. I was assured by the mayor of Ketchum that the Bond vote was for the cost of construction only! And, it did not specify a location at that time.
Fast forward! Using scare tactics, the city ramrodded through a fire station plan located at the Saddle Road site on Dec. 16, 2019, a time when locals are contemplating skiing and sugar plums dancing in their heads, not fire stations! In Feb. 2020, the P&Z Commission sketchily passed on the application with its recommendation.
The contentious process left many unanswered questions, unclear aggreements, and multiple concerns voiced by members of the community, adjacent property owners, and city representatives. Presiding at numerous meetigns, Mayor Bradshaw promised to address all items with clarity before proceeding forward on any decisions. However, since declaring his preferred site in June of 2019, many issues remain unresolved and, to this day, no pedestrian/traffic safety study has been completed at either location to offer insight and direction. Meanwhile, the Lewis Street lot has mysteriously been completely off the radar!
Town planning 101 would put the fire station in the industrial zone, not the family zone! Positioning the new facility at Lewis Street would allow for possible development to the north and help satisfy the YMCA’s future parking requirements and snow management and fire codes upon expansion. Unused portions of the city Saddle Road lot could be used to expand affordable housing at Northwood Place, which has already been vetted for that use. A win-win-win!
Since the $11.5 million bond passed by a mere two-thirds of a percent, the city better be “good stewards of public money,” to quote a councilperson. The con to expedite the application process due to the threat of rising materials costs at a projection of $350,000 per year is just that! Due diligence is safe and frugal! Not being methodical and objective is irresponsible!
At this point, one should ask the city of Ketchum why it lost the $325,000-per-year contract with the Ketchum Rural Fire District to the city of Sun Valley, a relationship they held since its inception in 1958.
One should also ask Mr. Mayor, why are we not positioning the new Ketchum fire station on Lewis Street, the obvious choice? What are you hiding?
David Hurd lives in Warm Springs.