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Collaboration leads to housing in the Wood River Valley

Posted at 4:28 PM, Nov 30, 2023
  • North Blaine County Fire Department hopes to inspire other local agencies to use similar methods to develop housing
  • Chief Bauer emphasized the significance secure housing has played in longevity of staff
  • Collaboration amongst multiple agencies has led to the success of further development that will ensure sufficient housing for employees for the next 15-20 years

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

Inspiration breeds inspiration, and when collaboration happens, answers will be found. The Sun Valley Fire Department explained how secure housing leads to local safety.

Jed Gray, the administrator for the North Blaine County Fire District explained the inspiration for the purchase of Zip Kit homes made in Idaho Falls, came from Sun Valley’s dormitory-style housing, which dates back decades.

Gray explained, "We’d like to think this is a model to help provide housing for the needed housing throughout our community."

He referenced the idea of how the North Blaine County Fire District’s action could act as a model for the school district or hospital. This is because they were able to lease public land which other city organizations could replicate and then purchase similar styled housing units. Jed’s compassion for the community has ensured housing will be provided not just for employees, but volunteers as well.

Chief Bauer of the Sun Valley Fire Department stated, "This housing is essential right now because as you know there is a big housing crunch in the valley. Like I mentioned, five of the tenants have been in there for six years or more. This is permanent first responder housing. It allows your first responders to remain in your community even with the housing crunch.

It cannot be emphasized enough that the collaboration of groups is what has led to the success of secure housing for fire fighters. They have gone as far to plan accordingly. While the 99-year lease from ITD was vital to the development of the Zip Kits, it also provides a mid-valley location.

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Gray elaborated on why they chose the Green Horn location for housing: "The location we have chosen to do this housing is pretty central in Blaine County. From that location whether it be fire fighting or EMS services we can go east, south, north, or west very easily."

The organizations have been collaboration to take action on these plans for decades. They have multiple residential units, two at the Griffin Butte Fire Station north of Ketchum, six at Green Horn, four of which are one bedroom and two, two bedroom. Some of these units were built in the early 90s and then have been renovated since. This action is not merely for today, but it is a plan affecting the housing of the fire department and potentially other essential works like police officers, and health care workers for the next 15-20 years as the population continues to grow and more employees are required.

 Secure housing is something numerous organizations are currently working on. If you have an interesting angle, please reach out to me at -