Reader's View, auditorium district: Boiseans can help shape city's future by voting May 21

May 11, 2013 

Over my many years of public service, I have been fortunate to see the birth of many events, initiatives and places so important to this Valley we all call home.

Whether it is our zoo, the fairgrounds, the Boise Foothills trail system or even the Connector from Interstate 84, we are fortunate to enjoy today the bold initiatives and hard work of citizens who went before us and worked to give us the great amenities we now enjoy.

Our community has a long, rich history of boldly, but collaboratively moving forward on the projects we most need in order to maintain our unique quality of life.

In fact, one of our core values is the belief that it's not enough to simply maintain the things that make the Valley a great place to live, work and play. We must also improve upon the things we love, enriching them for future generations and with an eye toward the inevitable growth so critical to many of the very initiatives we have come to treasure.

One of the best manifestations of that value is the Boise Centre, our state's premier convention center.

I am now a board member of the Greater Boise Auditorium District, which built the Centre and oversees its operation today in the heart of Downtown Boise.

We all watched years ago as the Centre was first proposed, then approved by voters and built as part of our groundbreaking redevelopment of the block we now know as The Grove. It happened because this community had a vision for a greater Boise. We finally began to see the potential for a community meeting place in a site long overlooked - an attraction for out-of-town conventions and a spot for special occasions big and small.

Today we all take for granted the remarkable economic and community impact from the Centre. According to a 2012 report from the Boise State University College of Business and Economics, since its opening in 1990 the Centre has seen 4.1 million guests attending more than 1,300 conventions and nearly 6,000 events. The economic impact during this time has been more than $1 billion.

Right now the District is engaged in a discussion about the next big project for this Valley, and it is critical for us all to be involved.

Although some have pushed for us to spend the money we have carefully saved, our mission is to look beyond the latest idea toward projects with the greatest potential for decades-long impact on this Valley. The vision of the Greater Boise Auditorium District must be bigger than any one politician or pet project.

That is why over the last several months we have shifted our focus away from only examining details of a specific project to more broadly work toward three simple goals.

First, we want to convene, bringing citizens and agencies together for discussion and sharing so as to learn and hear new ideas. Next, we want to communicate, engaging the community on its terms to hear their thoughts on the right vision for a greater Boise. Finally, we want to collaborate, working together with anyone who shares a common goal of making this community a great place to live for future generations.

Our hope is that we can reach these goals by helping the community find a common vision.

Using nimble, deliberative thinking along with a firm grounding in fiscal responsibility and data-driven decisions, we hope to help this community find a common vision for the next great project to be a true economic catalyst for the future.

How can you get involved? One way is to vote on May 21 when three board seats are up for election.

Another is to attend one of our meetings and offer your thoughts.

Finally, you can pay attention to these pages and others for upcoming opportunities to make your voice heard.

We need your help to find a vision for a GREATER Boise. This is an exciting time for our Valley, and future generations are counting on us to take our time and do things right.

Judy Peavey-Derr is a member of the Greater Boise Auditorium District and is not up for re-election on May 21.

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