When you click the link above, you’ll be directed to an email address. Simply email the words, “send me a petition” and you’ll receive a personal link to participate in the Petition. We are better at youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility than politics, so you will not receive your link immediately.
Paper petitions are available at the Y if you prefer. Or — Email the words, “send me a petition” to email@example.com
(Questions & Answers)
What is happening between the Y and the City of Ketchum?
The mayor and the City Council have, within the last year, proposed plans for development on both the north and south ends of the Y. If completed, those plans would unquestionably impact our community, the Y, its members and the Y’s current operations. Under consideration have been plans that, collectively, would eliminate nearly 70 percent of available parking spaces at both the north and south ends of the Y’s leased footprint. These spaces are currently used by Y members, carpoolers, skiers and other recreational users on a year-round daily basis. The Y is concerned that many community members and organizations would be adversely impacted by a significant loss of available spaces on the Park and Ride.
What is the Y doing for the community?
The Y supports children, adults, seniors and families everyday through life-changing programs (learn to swim, chronic disease support, after-school and summer care for children, educational support, healthy eating, group exercise, childcare). The Y delivers over $900,000 annually in scholarship and program subsidy into our community. Our “Open Door” policy ensures everyone, regardless of the financial means, will have access to the Y.
Why is parking important to the Y?
The Y had 6261 members last year, in addition to thousands of out-of-town day-pass visitors. It is a community destination recreation facility and a gathering place. The Y often has more than 550 participants visiting on an average day. These participants travel to the YMCA as a destination for recreation and critical youth programs. The Y pays for all Y members to ride the bus and takes significant action to promote alternative transportation, yet often members and participants rely on adequate parking during winter months. Many of the Y’s participants are seniors and youth who are at risk of slipping and falling during winter months. The Y has 1000 members over the age of 65 plus dozens of members who use the Y as part of their battle against serious health issues. These people need reasonable
access. YMCA of the USA recommends 300 parking spaces for a facility this size.
The photo above shows the parking area north of the Y. The green line represents the end of the building lease where YMCA Phase II will take place. The gravel lot, north of the entrance off Saddle Road, is where the City has proposed one of its new projects.
What is the right amount of parking for the Y?
Historically, the Y has enjoyed an incredibly positive relationship with city leaders. In 2005, when the Y signed its lease with the City delineating the Y’s phased development footprint, the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council discussed the importance of having adequate Y parking outside the building envelope, but within the Park and Ride lot. A comprehensive parking study was conducted, and the City determined that 150 spaces on the non-leased portion of Park Ride would be necessary for the Y’s success. After signing the lease agreement in which the City acknowledges that (i) the Y has an affirmative obligation to provide “adequate parking” for its facility; (ii) the parties acknowledged “some if not all” of the parking would be located on the property not leased by the City; (iii) the parties would determine the amount of parking “deemed to be adequate” for the Y in order to accommodate the City’s future development plans for the “remainder of the Park and Ride Property”, and (iv) the parties would embody the amount of required parking in a separate agreement, the Y entered into a parking agreement with the city “providing adequate parking for YMCA activities.” In signing the parking agreement, the Y relied on Ordinance 953 passed by the City to change the zoning of the park and ride lot based on a development agreement which included a parking structure the City never developed. After signing the parking agreement, the Y paid to improve the agreed upon parking area. Currently the Y maintains (including lighting and snow plowing) 188 paved parking spaces on the Park and Ride which are available to its members and the general public.
Does the Y support workforce housing?
Absolutely! The Y recognizes the critical need for the development of workforce housing and absolutely supports collaborative master-planning that will address the needs of all Ketchum residents. We would welcome the opportunity to be part of that master-planning.
What are the Y’s plans for future development and how would they be impacted by loss of parking?
The Y is looking forward to expanding its community service through the addition of improved and larger indoor recreational space within our leased footprint in the coming years. All planning for this expansion came to a halt when the Y realized that City leaders’ commitment to the Lease and 2006 Parking Agreement was in question. Unfortunately, without a commitment from the City to insure at least 150 parking places outside our current leased footprint, the Y will be unable to expand the current facility.
How did the Y get started in the Wood River Valley?
With the city’s promise of available land for development and parking, a group of volunteers executed an audacious plan to raise funds to build a 66,000-square-foot YMCA. Their promise and commitment to the community and donors entailed building a spectacular facility, which would offer incredible year-round programming to residents and visitors alike. The City committed to provide adequate parking to support the Y’s operational success.
What is the partnership between the Y and the City of Ketchum?
Fourteen years ago, Ketchum residents took to the polls and overwhelmingly passed an initiative that effectively launched the Wood River Community YMCA. The initiative directed the city to lease 25% of the Park & Ride lot on Saddle Road to the Y. Therein was unleashed one of the most successful public/private partnerships in the history of Blaine County.
Are current City leaders negotiating with the Y?
We are talking, but the City has been unwilling to recognize and positively affirm the Y’s parking needs. The current elected City officials have backtracked on the intent of the Lease and 2006 parking commitment, a commitment heartily endorsed by their predecessors. They have determined that Y parking, as described in the 2006 parking agreement, is merely “permissive” and subject to limitation and revocation by the City. They consider the Y’s need for adequate parking to be a, “nonexistent alleged entitlement” and shouldn’t constrain the City’s development plans. When presented with letters written by former Mayor Randy Hall and Councilman Baird Gourlay describing the intent of the original agreements and the spirit of cooperation that existed between the City and the Y, Mayor Neil Bradshaw stated that, “the city does not agree with the recollections as stated in the letters.” There were parking studies and experts that confirmed the need and importance of adequate parking to meet the community’s needs.
Is the Y willing to work with the City?
Last November, in the spirit of cooperation, the Y presented a proposal to the Mayor and City Council that would recognize the Y’s original leased footprint, as well as clarify the City’s obligations under the current parking agreement, while still endorsing the city’s significant proposed development initiatives. Unfortunately, the City rejected the proposal in executive session without even allowing a public discussion.
What is next?
YMCA volunteers and donors are frustrated and saddened by Ketchum city officials’ disregard of the commitments made in the 99-year lease agreement signed in 2005. The terms of this agreement are crucial to the Y’s ability to fulfill its promise of financial viability and future development to all residents of the Wood River Valley over the next 86 years. As stewards of this promise, the Y’s volunteer board is committed to ensuring and protecting that future.