City of Ketchum
P.O. Box 2315
480 East Avenue N.
Ketchum, Idaho 83340
"Small Town, Big Life"

June 11, 2015
In This Issue

A Message From Mayor Nina Jonas: Have a Seat and Enjoy Ketchum! 


Ahh. Summer is back and with it the fervor to participate in every activity connected with mountain living: hiking, biking, fishing, rafting, climbing, camping and golfing. Yet there is another quality local activity not typically mentioned ... the opportunity to do nothing at all. Our home is an amazing place to simply enjoy our surroundings all year-round!


With ease and convenience you can find a spot by the river, at a park, at River Run or Warm Springs, on a chairlift and then on top of Baldy, in Town Square, at the library or at a coffee shop. Occasionally, someone may ask for directions or exchange niceties but you will not be solicited or harassed. There's no need to do anything, though reading, pondering, watching or spacing out are compatible activities.


Boasting about the comfort and ease of doing nothing may seem strange. But when I think about other places in the world, I realize that the ability to relax in peace in public is rare. This summer take a seat, almost anywhere, and enjoy the tranquility and beauty special to our mountain town.





Why are you changing the rules regarding how people can use the right-of-way in front of their properties?  


The city's right-of-way is intended for public and emergency access. Over the years property owners have incorporated the adjacent right-of-way into their landscaping to increase aesthetics, and this was often encouraged by the city planning department. The net result is a creative, though inconsistent, landscaping of the public right-of-way that lessens the delineation of public versus private space. This blurring of the right-of-way is causing unwarranted challenges for the city.


Firefighters and other emergency personnel must have 20 feet of clear paved roadway in all areas and 26 feet of clear paved roadway in areas where buildings are taller than 35 feet. Landscaping of the right-of-way discourages individuals from parking on the existing right-of-way and they instead park on the road, lessening the required road clearance for emergency services. This is happening throughout the city both in commercial and residential areas. It also causes congested streets in residential areas and reduces parking in commercial areas.


Unusual materials and excessive landscaping in sidewalks within commercial areas restrict pedestrian access. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires a minimum of three feet of unobstructed space for pedestrian access. More up-to-date standards state five feet of unobstructed space for pedestrian access is ideal.  In residential areas, excessive vegetation within public easements inhibits pedestrian access to rivers and trails.


Ultimately, the city is the owner of the right-of-way, and this makes the city responsible for anything in the right-of-way. Unexpected materials and irrigation systems cause unnecessary expense to the public for maintenance. The city needs to maintain the right-of-way for drainage, snow storage and access at a responsible cost to the public. This will mean restricting what can be done, but it does not have to be at the expense of aesthetics.


The city's proposed standards within the right-of-way include these: Keep vehicles from parking on the street, provide five feet of clear sidewalk access in commercial areas, use sidewalk materials that are easy to maintain, provide drainage capacity, and eliminate irrigation systems. This does not exclude creative landscaping, but does require an understanding of the uses of the right-of-way that need to be preserved.



Is there going to be any kind of landscaping on the sides of Highway 75 coming into Ketchum? It looks horrible. They've stripped the topsoil so nothing of quality will grow. This is the "gateway" to our resort community. It's sad to have it look so bad.

--Mary Hall


The city plants the sidewalk boxes in late June to avoid potential loss from frost, so flowers will be coming soon. Landscaping further south is the responsibility of the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD). ITD has widened the highway and removed vegetation from the edge of the road to increase safety. Car collisions with deer and elk have been a public safety concern, and the vegetation has been changed to discourage roadside grazing.  



In the May 28 newsletter, R. J. Scheu asked about the possibility of using dyed and stamped concrete to make sidewalks resemble the older wooden sidewalks, just as the Sun Valley Lodge has used dyed concrete to resemble wood. We promised to look into the cost, and this is what we've learned.


The price for stamped and colored concrete is about three times that of regular concrete. We currently pay $5.50 per square foot for standard concrete. Stamped and colored concrete is about $16 per square foot. We recently replaced 95 feet of boardwalk with concrete and the cost was $2,700. Stamped and colored concrete would have cost $7,600. None of these figures include the cost of installation. We are not sure how stamped and colored concrete would look after 10 years, given that there is more wear and tear on sidewalks than on the sides of a building. It is an option to consider in the future.



Do you have a question for Mayor Nina Jonas?

Note: If you submit a question to "Ask Nina," your name may be published unless you request that it be withheld.

how ketchum fire prepares for backcountry rescues


Ketchum Fire Department is the first responder for most backcountry rescues in Blaine County. See firefighters practice a helicopter rescue in this video, as well as additional demonstrations at the June 27 Fire Expo. (See separate story in this newsletter.)



by Robyn Mattison, Public Works Director/City Engineer 

The public works department will present a plan for filling in missing sidewalk segments and installing streetlights to the City Council at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, June 15. The plan focuses on areas in the community core and adjacent areas with frequent pedestrian traffic.


At the June 15 Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency meeting, the city will submit a request for funding for 13 new streetlights and 20 missing sidewalk sections downtown over three years.  


This will be on the URA's June 15 agenda. If funding is approved, construction could begin as early as next spring.


City sidewalks will be in even better condition in two years, thanks to a Community Choices for Idaho grant to install new sidewalks at 18 sections that were listed as priorities in the Ketchum Walkability Project.


The public works department already has begun maintenance work on existing sidewalks, curbs and gutters.  It also will present a priority list of repairs the department hopes to complete this year to the council on June 15. Maintenance funds set aside this year include:

  • $25,000 to reset pavers that have settled over time in high-traffic areas.
  • $30,000 to repair crumbling, broken, aging and settled sections of concrete sidewalks in high-traffic areas.
  • $20,000 for curb and gutter repairs, with most of the funds going to repairs currently under way on Fourth Street between Walnut and East avenues.

Scheduling concrete contractors to perform the work has been a challenge for the city in the past. Contractors prefer to schedule larger jobs in advance and often are either unavailable or only able to fit city sidewalk work in between other jobs. Because of this, the city streets division will do as much of the repair work this year as possible.


The annual Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival, which began as a primarily local event five years ago, is expected to bring about 500 participants and 3,000 spectators to Ketchum June 25-28.


Four days of activities, partially sponsored by the city of Ketchum, will include the Criterium, a race through downtown Ketchum on Friday night.  


There also will be a new 32-mile race through some of the best trails in the Sawtooth National Recreation area.


Ride Sun Valley was founded by Greg "Chopper" Randolph, a former Olympic road and mountain bike racer who was then a marketing executive with Visit Sun Valley. Last year the event had grown to the point that Randolph and Visit Sun Valley asked Mountain Sports International in Salt Lake City to manage the festival.


The festival begins Thursday, June 25, with a race in Hailey. It moves north on Friday, with the Ride Sun Valley Expo in Town Square opening at 2 p.m. and the downtown Criterium team relay starting at the Visitor Center at 8:30 p.m. Costumes are required of all Criterium racers, and previous years have brought out many whimsical costumes.


The Saturday night Bike Prom, also at Town Square, invites "prom-goers" to dress in retro attire and decorate their bikes to match. The best-costumed at the free event will be recognized as Prom King and Queen.


Although previous mountain biking races have been on Bald Mountain, the festival this year has permission to hold two events on U.S. Forest Service and Sawtooth National Recreation Area lands north of town. Organizers are still working with the Forest Service on the exact route for the 32-mile Shimano Boulder Mountain Fox Trot and the two-day Scott Enduro Cup presented by Vittoria. A key factor in Forest Service approval was the willingness of the race organizers and the local Wood River Bike Coalition to agree to repair any damage to trails after the races,


"This will be a positive economic driver for our community, which is definitely a great thing," said Zach Poff, Forest Service recreation program manager. "If we can assist to offer a positive economic opportunity and still remain within our environmental standards -- first and foremost -- that's something we look at."


Special opportunities:

Race discount: A 15 percent discount for locals is available for the new Shimano Boulder Mountain Cross Country race. Use registration code RIDExc.


Photo contest:

Take a photo in the Cox Communications photo booth in the Ride Sun Valley Expo. You will be sent an email with the digital copy and link to post that photo on Facebook and Twitter. Use #BestofRSV when you post.

By Annie Keenan, public relations intern, Boise State University

To many, Will Caldwell is best known as an oil painter whose work has been shown in galleries through the area. In Ketchum he's probably equally well-known as the man who helps the city put together three different summer concert series each year.  


Caldwell says he's always had "a natural rhythm" that led him to hand-drumming in Latin and African styles, dancing and playing piano and synthesizer. So when he read a tourist's comment in a local newspaper in 1999 that downtown was "boring" at night, he took it upon himself to change that.


"The reality is that every warm summer night in Ketchum is a special opportunity for intrigue, adventure and romance," says Caldwell. "So why not make the most of summer, bring music into town, make it free and do it as often as possible?"


With help from the city, Ketch'em Alive began that same year, with touring bands playing rock, reggae, world beat or blue grass every Tuesday night. This year's concerts will be June 16 through Aug. 11, 7-9 p.m., at Forest Service Park.


Encouraged by the success of Ketch'em Alive, Caldwell and the city launched two more music series, Jazz in the Park in 2006 and Town Square Tunes in 2011.


Jazz in the Park is held every Sunday at Rotary Park, June 21 through July 26, 6-8 p.m., and features Idaho's favorite jazz musicians. Town Square Tunes hosts local musicians and takes place each Thursday at Ketchum Town Square, June 18 through Aug. 27, also 6-8 p.m.


"Ketch'em Alive is the big one, with people milling about and dancing," said Caldwell. Typically, there are about 600 people at each concert.


Jazz in the Park is considered to be a bit quieter, with about 300 people sitting and often picnicking at each concert. Town Square Tunes, set in the heart of Ketchum, is meant to be more casual, drawing in wandering tourists.


The concerts are kept free, in part, by city funding. In addition, eight business sponsors each donated $1,000: Atkinsons' Markets, D. L. Evans Bank, the soon-to-be-built Limelight Hotel, High Country Resort Properties, My Sun Valley Home, Barry Peterson Jewelers, Hailey Orthopedics & Sports Medicine and the Springcreek Foundation. Ketchum hotels Best Western Tyrolean Lodge, Best Western Plus Kentwood Lodge and Tamarack Lodge donate rooms for visiting performers.  


"One Tuesday evening as I was crossing the street, some visitors pulled up and asked where they could hear some live music. I was delighted to be able to direct them to Forest Service Park and the weekly Ketch'em Alive event," said Mayor Nina Jonas. "Ketchum music events support the performing arts and provide wonderful venues for community gathering."  


As for booking bands, Caldwell says emails pour in from musicians all over the country. He actively books bands with women to promote gender balance.



The city wastewater plant cut electric consumption by 572,431 kilowatt hours, enough electricity to supply 52 residences for one year, over the past 14 months. Cost savings were approximately $28,622!  At a recent Idaho Power Wastewater Energy Efficiency Cohort workshop, the city public works director and key treatment plant operators learned how simple operational changes can reduce energy use. These included adjusting tank levels so that pumps run less often and with more efficiency, cleaning air diffusers, adding programmable thermostats to building heating controls and being more mindful of light usage inside buildings. In addition, new turbo blowers installed in September 2014 also have resulted in energy savings. The facility will soon replace inefficient lighting fixtures with LED to save even more energy. 


fire expo set for june 27

The Ketchum and Sun Valley fire departments will host the annual  Blaine County Fire Expo and barbecue Saturday, June 27, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Festival Meadows on Sun Valley Road. Firefighters from Ketchum and Sun Valley will demonstrate car extrication, rescue drills, training in extinguishing fires and fire safety planning at the family-friendly event.



Statistics show that tweets with hashtags get twice the engagement. Please join us in using #SmallTownBigLife when you are posting items on social media about the city of Ketchum.


Why Ketchum Funds Mountain Rides 

The city contributes to various agencies providing community services each year, including Mountain Rides. As the City Council reviews next year's budget, it also will look at continuing these funding requests. Here are some facts about Mountain Rides, which received $550,000, plus an additional $10,000 for experimental late-night service during the winter holidays, from Ketchum for FY2014-15.


Services include free bus routes within Ketchum and Sun Valley, a fare-based commuter Valley Route that runs the length of the Wood River Valley, bus routes within Hailey, and 15 commuter vanpool routes, eight of which terminate in the city of Ketchum.  It also has vanpool and bicycle-sharing programs.


Ridership in the calendar year 2014 totaled 520,236 one-way rides and marked the first time that Mountain Rides passes the half-million mark.


In addition to federal funding, Mountain Rides also received funding from the cities of Hailey, Sun Valley and Bellevue, Blaine County and Sun Valley Resort.


BAH To Be Held June 24

Ketchum/Sun Valley Business After Hours will be Wednesday, June 24, at Antique Alley, Sun Valley Road and First Avenue, from 5-6 p.m. There will be two short presentations, as well as opportunities for networking. A $5 donation to cover the cost of refreshments is requested. For additional information, contact Gary Hoffman at 725-5522 or



Aimee Christensen's Work Recognized

Aimee Christensen, chair of the Ketchum Energy Advisory Committee, and co-founder of the Sun Valley Institute for Resilience, has been listed as one of "The 100 People Shaping #Cleantech on Twitter."  


Boulder-White Clouds Legislation Moves Ahead

The House of Representatives is expected to hold a hearing on H.R. 1138, which would protect the Boulder-White Clouds, on Tuesday, June 16, according to a spokesman in the office of Rep. Mike Simpson.


Farmers Market to Open Tuesday

The Wood River Farmers Market is now open on Tuesday afternoons on Fourth Street.


Sawtooth Relay Finale in Ketchum

The Sawtooth Relay, benefiting the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation and the Idaho Donor Network, runs from Stanley to Ketchum on Saturday and Sunday, June 13-14.  


Half Marathon Set for June 20

The Sun Valley Half Marathon brings runners through Ketchum and Sun Valley on Saturday, June 20.


Try a Local Brew

The second annual Brewfest, sponsored by the Ketchum/Sun Valley Rotary Club, will be in Town Square Saturday, June 20, from noon to 6 p.m.


Baldy Buddy Hike to Benefit Camp Rainbow Gold

The Baldy Buddy Hike to benefit Camp Rainbow Gold for children with cancer will be Saturday, June 27, at 9 a.m.


Chip Sealing Reminder

Please remember that chip sealing is scheduled for July 13-16 in West Ketchum.  


Weather Delays Splash Park Opening

Thunderstorms and some cool days have delayed this season's opening of the Rainmaker Splash Park adjacent to Atkinson Park. Watch Facebook and Twitter as well as the city website  for the opening date.


Idaho Power to Trim Trees in Ketchum

Idaho Power plans to trim trees too close to power lines in Ketchum in late June or early August. All affected customers will be notified in advance. If a tree needs to be removed for safety, Idaho Power will offer a free replacement.  


Mark Your Calendars for Events Featured Earlier in This Newsletter

  • Ketch'Em Alive brings Matt Hopper & The Roman Candles to Forest Service Park on Tuesday, June 16, at 7 p.m. Todo Mundo plays on June 23 and Lovewhip on June 30.
  • Town Square Tunes presents Hat Trick in Town Square on Thursday, June 18, at 6 p.m. Rosewood County Band plays on June 25, and Cherry Creek Band on July 2.
  • Jazz in the Park will feature Alan Pennay and Cheryl Morrell on Sunday, June 21, at 6 p.m. in Rotary Park. Caritas Chorale performs on June 28.
  • Ride Sun Valley mountain-biking festival is coming up soon, June 25-28.


Coming Up on Monday's City Council Agenda

The City Council agenda for Monday, June 15, at 5:30 p.m. covers a wide variety of topics. Items include a discussion on the relationship between the City Council and Ketchum Community Development Corporation, a community housing strategy, long-term sidewalk improvements and maintenance, water rights hearings, zoning code revisions, a request for Sun Valley Resort to use a horse-drawn carriage to transport visitors through town, and relocation of the bike path near the U.S. Post Office. See stories in this and earlier newsletter on sidewalks, zoning code revisions and water rights.


City Council 
Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, June 15. City Council meetings are held on the first and third Mondays of each month in Ketchum City Hall. Click here to see the agenda and staff reports or scan the QR code.

Planning and Zoning Commission 
Planning and Zoning Commission meetings are held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. The next P&Z meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, June 22 in Ketchum City Hall. Click here for agendas and staff reports or scan the QR code.

Public Comment 
If you cannot attend the Council or P&Z meetings and have an opinion, please submit your comments via email to Your input and engagement is encouraged. All comments will be reviewed. 
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