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Lift Tower Lodge Residents Meet the Neighbors Over BBQ Funded by 5B Engine Works
Saturday, August 27, 2022


Earlier this summer the Lift Tower Lodge extended a lifeline to six families being forced to move from Ketchum’s J&J Trailer Park to make way for new construction.

On Wednesday those residents got a chance to meet their new neighbors as the Blaine County Housing Authority threw a barbecue on the newly refurbished deck behind the lodge.

It gave residents a chance to break in the new barbecue purchased for the residents by donors to 5B Engine Works, a philanthropic organization started more than a year ago by Nancie Tatum. And it gave them a chance to enjoy the freshly painted deck, table and shade umbrella also donated by 5B Engine Works.

A couple boys happily munched on watermelon at bright pink kid-sized tables while adults ate burgers with pepper jack cheese while admiring the evening view of Bald Mountain a few blocks away.

Herbert Romero, who helped many of the residents move into the lodge beamed as he and his wife Bianca took their place as honored guests.

“We wanted everyone to know that the BBQ is here and make them feel welcome,” said Sarah Michael, the executive director of the BCHA.

The Lift Tower Lodge, one of Ketchum’s early motels, now provides 14 affordable units plus an apartment for the manager. A communal kitchen was outfitted with a stove provided by the Appliance Company of Hailey. Others donated a microwave and kitchen sink.

“I was able to get dishes at the Gold Mine,” said Susan Scovell, a Ketchum architect who designed a communal kitchen and laundry facility for the lodge. “I’m just so excited to see this being used.”

Silvia Romero, the bilingual program administrator for Blaine County Housing Authority, greeted residents as they arrived. Peruvian born, she said she loves the community she’s found in the Wood River Valley.

“And there’s so much you can do here,” she added. “All these things you can do for families like those who live here. It’s a good place to raise a family.”

Derek Wilkins reached into a veggie box on the deck where he cultivates lettuce, beans, peppers, tomatoes, carrots and radishes and pulled a long pink radish out of the dirt. Wilkins fetches dinner from the plantings before he heads to work every night at the Power House restaurant in Hailey.

“I’ve lived here three months and I love it,” said Wilkins, whose aunts own Chapter One Bookstore and Despo’s. “I just step out the door and catch the bus that stops right in front. It’s so easy.”

Nicky Gulliford is equally effusive in her love of the space. She grew up in England but came to Sun Valley to visit a friend she used to date in college. One look around and she knew she had found her forever home.

Like Wilkins, she catches the bus that stops in front of the lodge to go to work at The Advocates’ Attic thrift store.

“I love having the families here,” she said. “I’m living by myself, but I don’t feel like I’m living by myself because of them. I see them in the store and it’s so fun saying, ‘Hi, neighbor!’ I’m so grateful for this barbecue because it’s one of the first opportunities we’ve had to really meet the neighbors and put a name to the face!”

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