Bluebird Village, a proposed low-income housing project, on the present City Hall/Fire Station and Police Department site in Ketchum is well on its way to becoming a reality. Construction is anticipated to start in late summer after approval from each of Ketchum’s governing bodies.

Recently Greg Dunfield from GMD, a Seattle-based development company reached out via two Zoom meetings for public comments on three exterior material options for the two buildings. The options were not met with any enthusiasm, the general feeling that the materials made the buildings look like either a mental institution or a prison and were not compatible with neighborhood properties.

The participants were more focused on getting answers to broader questions about the location of this project in our downtown core on a very valuable site that should, in fact, be auctioned off. The proceeds from the sale could then be used to purchase a better outcome for low-income housing.

Mr. Dunfield was questioned about the proposed 50-foot height of the two buildings, the number and size of parking spaces—some of which will be tandem spaces—and the fact that not all 56 units will have a place to park. He responded by saying that the plan for these buildings is much like what is planned in urban environments like Seattle and contended that what works there should also work in Ketchum.

The City Council has approved ordinance changes and transferred the City property to KCDC in order to make this project happen. KCDC will lease the site to GMO for $1 a year for 100 years. GMO has secured Tax Credits to make this project happen. But is this the right location for high density housing in Ketchum?

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Gwen Raney


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