Boise River Park & Esther Simplot Initiatives
Boise, Idaho - - Mayor Bieter announced today plans to kick-start development of the new whitewater sports and riverfront park complex on the Boise River, part of a wide range of initiatives designed to protect neighborhoods, control growth, promote a strong economy and deliver cost-effective city services.
Mayor Bieter’s proposed City of Boise Fiscal Year 2008/2009 Biennial Budget also calls for the addition of five front-line police officers and two new paramedic units, a reserve of $2 million to address homelessness and a federal grant to study relocation of the Boise Petroleum Fuel Facilities "tank farm” on North Curtis Road.
Standing on the Boise River Greenbelt at the site of the planned Esther Simplot and River Recreation parks this morning, Mayor Bieter outlined his plan to provide $750,000 to the parks project. The city’s $1.5 million total contribution to the parks would be matched by another $1.5 million in private donations.
"The Boise River is the lifeblood of the Treasure Valley, and these new parks will give Boiseans a signature recreation facility on one of the most acclaimed urban rivers in the nation,” the mayor said. "They will also provide a much-needed economic boost to an area of the city that, with a little assistance, offers tremendous potential for revitalization.”
The River Recreation Park, part of the Boise River Recreation and Management Plan adopted by the Boise City Council in December 1999, will provide river sports opportunities through creation of a whitewater stretch in the Boise River downstream from the Main Street bridge. The project, on a section of river that was channelized during the mid-1900s, is being designed to provide a more natural riparian setting and improved fish habitat.
Esther Simplot Park, adjacent to the River Recreation Park and Bernardine Quinn Pond, will feature 55 acres of natural areas, fishing ponds, a playground, picnic areas and shelters, pathways and sports fields. A $1 million gift from J.R. and Esther Simplot in January 2003 allowed the Boise Parks & Recreation Department to complete the purchase of riverfront property for the future Esther Simplot Park. The City of Boise already owned 39 acres, a portion of which was donated by the Quinn-McEntee family.
Among the more than two dozen initiatives outlined in his biennial budget proposal submitted to the City Council this week, the mayor called for partnering with the Boise School District for construction and operation of recreation center at Whitney Elementary School, joining two already approved centers at Fairmont and McKinley schools; support of community partnerships to expand the Optimist Youth Sports Complex and Zoo Boise; first steps toward utilization of city-owned railroad line for freight; and almost $5 million annually to maintain ValleyRide bus service.
"These spending proposals line up with what our citizens have said are their priorities: managing growth, improving transportation, and maintaining a healthy environment,” Mayor Bieter said.
The city collects public input in a variety of ways, from a biennial citizen survey to the mayor’s open "Saturday Office Hours” and regular meetings with neighborhood associations. The public can comment on the 2008-09 budget proposal by calling the Mayor’s Hotline (384-4404), sending an e-mail (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org) or writing to Mayor’s Office, City of Boise, P.O. Box 500, Boise, ID, 83701.
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