As a former Blaine County commissioner, I have advocated for two years that the commissioners use the old Blaine Manor land in Hailey to partner with the ARCH Community Housing Trust to build an affordable housing project. For the same two years, Kiki Tidwell, now a county commissioner candidate, has opposed it.

If all goes well, in 2021, there will be 60 new rental units, 30 for seniors and 30 for families; almost all will be permanently affordable. There is a waiting list for both the senior and family affordable rentals. The Blaine Manor land, $500,000 in contribution from Blaine County and support from Hailey have leveraged $13.4 million in other investment dollars.

Local government partnerships with community housing trusts are used all over the country, but Ms. Tidwell is against this one. She has stated publicly that it is corrupt and fraudulent despite specific Idaho law that allows it. She claims that she has a better way to do it.

There is no doubt that Kiki believes she is more knowledgeable than the current county commissioners, one of whom she hopes to defeat in November. It is unfortunate, however, that in our collaborative community, Ms. Tidwell accuses the commissioners of being engaged in a corrupt process just because they do not agree with her.

Our county commissioners, ARCH and city of Hailey officials are dedicated individuals who have relied on their attorneys, state law, housing experts, financial institutions and citizen input to make this important 60-unit rental project happen. They have chosen wisely to partner with ARCH, the process has been legal and transparent and it will deliver much-needed housing to those who need it most. I hope Ms. Tidwell will eventually celebrate this accomplishment.

Sarah Michael, Blaine County

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