Once again the Statesman has provided readers with misleading information in its endorsement of Initiative A concerning the Garden City Nature Path. And once again, it becomes our job to set the record straight. If we dont, Garden City voters are facing a painful decision on how to pay for a project pushed by a special-interest group that will cost more than a third of the citys annual property tax revenue.
The 1980 agreement between the State and the original Riverside Village developer did NOT require a multi-use greenbelt path. This fact has been adjudicated. The multi-use was not mandated in the 1980 Agreement. Judge Copseys ruling is on the city website.
The City Council has a fiduciary responsibility to citizens to inform them of the consequences of passing the initiatives. Hence the independent study. Citizens also deserve to know the stance of their elected officials. The Statesman questions the estimate of $1.143 million for the improvement of the path yet has absolutely no credible evidence to support that position. Garden City not only has this independent estimate but also has the hard numbers from construction of 1.3 miles of multi-use greenbelt path on the south side of the river. We know the numbers.
The Statesman wants the Garden City taxpayer to take all the risk by suggesting they challenge these numbers by approving this initiative. That is easy to say when youre not footing the bill. And suggesting that cycling advocates will meet the city halfway when not one organized cycling organization in the Valley, not one, has endorsed these initiatives or has supported Citizens for an Open Greenbelt. The solution to our communitys long-sought greenbelt from Lucky Peak to Eagle is the new West Bridge for which the city has recently received a $727,000 federal grant. The Statesman agreed in an editorial on March 14, 2008, stating, The best solution is to connect the Greenbelt on the south side of the river. We have steadfastly completed our plan.
And finally, the Statesman does not once mention that turning this into a multi-use traffic corridor will destroy one of only three walking paths along the Boise River. Boise has the Dallas Harris Walk and the Bethine Church Nature Path and we have our 1.5 mile Nature Path. The cycling community has over 30 miles of paved, multi-use paths to enjoy. It makes no sense to destroy this path.
John Evans is mayor of Garden City.