Canyon leap faces possible grounding

More twists and turns in the saga of the 2014 Snake River Canyon jump — an event, ostensibly, that is supposed to result in a $1 million or so windfall for public schools.

'Big Ed' Beckley
‘Big Ed’ Beckley

The Twin Falls City Council is being asked to take another look at its agreement to work with Texas stuntman “Big Ed” Beckley. Last month, the council granted Beckley access to the city-owned canyon launch site, used by Evel Knievel in his failed 1974 stunt. Reo Development Group, another bidder for access to the launch site, wants the council to revisit the issue at its meeting tonight, reports Kimberlee Kruesi of The Times-News in Twin Falls.

The link between this municipal issue and state education funding is not much of a leap.

Beckley won a state auction on Sept. 27, securing a two-year lease for the state-owned landing site on the north rim of the canyon. He has already paid the state $943,000, money that will go straight into the public school endowment, and public schools would also get a cut on broadcast and event revenues from the leap.

But the leap is contingent on Beckley securing city permits as well.

Kruesi also reported recently that Beckley threatened to sue, if the Twin Falls City Council selected another bidder.

“Beckley Media followed the City’s directive in good faith, and expended huge sums of money, time and effort to become the only applicant to obtain the State lease,” Beckley said in a memo to Twin Falls City Hall. “After obtaining the lease and permission from the State, Beckley Media learned that the City has changed its position and is considering awarding the permit to applicants who do not possess the State lease the City directed Mr. Beckley to obtain.”

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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