Downtown Boise is developing at an unprecedented pace, in part, because of its mix of services, broad range of uses and spaces, and the sheer (and growing) number of people moving in, out and around it at all times of the day, week and year. With increasing development comes the need to identify locations for parks and public spaces that complement Boise’s growth, and make the highest and best use of land in the Downtown.
In the summer of 2015, the City of Boise started gathering public input. Listening stations were set up at public events throughout Downtown, collecting input from more than 250 members of the general public. Additional outreach included a number of focus group meetings with key Downtown stakeholders.
Overall, respondents strongly supported efforts to create, maintain, and activate current and future public spaces, particularly in underutilized or vacant places. Examples include areas around the Connector, West Side (Main and Fairview Street), surface parking, empty lots (Parcel A and B), and Front and Myrtle Streets. This information led to the development of the following goals:
Many different kinds of parks and public spaces are needed for Downtown Boise and its different neighborhoods. The following projects are slated to begin in the next year or two. These will be the first to meet the growing range of needs and desires for public spaces and public life in Boise’s Downtown.
Boise City Hall’s plaza will undergo renovations starting in late spring or early summer. The renovated plaza will create a flexible public space that serves both larger gatherings and daily use. Art will be integrated along with a new water feature to create a signature place to connect with others. The rebuilding process will wrap up by early December.
The City of Boise is partnering with Capitol City Development Corporation (CCDC) and local property owners in programming and implementing improvements to two alleys in downtown Boise, commonly known as Freak Alley (between 8th Street and 9th Street, north of Idaho Street) and Union Block Alley (between Capitol Blvd and 8th Street, north of Idaho Street). These alleys are heavily used by the public for accessing the popular 8th Street corridor and have the ability to enhance activities in the downtown area on a daily basis. The alleys must also serve a vital function for adjacent businesses (i.e. freight deliver, trash service). The goal of the alley improvements is to activate these public spaces so that they are safe, comfortable, more inviting and more usable by the public without negatively impacting the utility of each alley. This project will consolidate/remove trash and recycling; improve surfacing; improve stormwater (tentative); provide public artwork; and, implement lighting, water feature, seating and vegetation.
The Main Library Plaza, well positioned at the heart of the Cultural District and along the Boise River, will function as a gateway to the new Civic Center for Education and Culture. The civic space will connect the Main Branch Library and the Department of Arts &History and will provide a new venue for outdoor gathering, learning and performing. The plaza, along with the larger complex, will offer a special place for connection and expression.
A comprehensive list of projects can be found here.