GEORGE ILIFF: Work to build an even more vibrant community


December 21, 2013 

Signs of vibrancy and economic resurgence are visible in Boise, bringing back a sense of excitement to our city. We have come through a difficult and painful recession. It’s now time for all of us who care about our city to focus on the future that we wish to build and decide how we intend to get there.

Cranes and new buildings are a welcome sight downtown. Still, they should not mask significant issues that need to be addressed such as job growth, disputes between different public agencies and proposals for publicly financed projects with far-ranging impacts, which should be thoroughly aired and discussed.

It has been suggested that an improvement to the way that these issues are addressed and resolved is for the Boise business community to become actively re-engaged in the decision-making process — with the focus specifically on Boise. It is fair to say that during the past few years, the Boise business community has been largely absent or not consulted on certain issues.

Boise Elevated is a new, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization created by a diverse group of local business community members for the specific purpose of re-engaging the business community. Boise Elevated is a forum to influence policy, and promote projects, people and decisions that advance the vision for an increasingly urban Boise.

We’ve taken lessons from Partners for Livable Communities, a national nonprofit that has joined business and civic sectors in cities around the country to identify a city’s uniqueness, sharpen its economic edge, and influence policy so that all citizens share in the benefits and challenges of urban living.

Through collaboration and cooperation, Boise Elevated will help Build a Better Boise in which to live, learn and work. We will do this by identifying current and future needs of Boise and proposing practical, common-sense solutions. We will do this by working with public and private sector partners to promote intelligent land use that emphasizes a modern transportation infrastructure, environmental sustainability and workforce development. We will do this by exploring ways to improve education, foster the arts and emphasize healthy lifestyles.

Our strategy is to foster and advance the civic discourse in a civil and collaborative atmosphere that encourages and enables community and political leaders to work together to achieve excellence. We will offer our expertise, time and financial resources in support. But all of us — the public sector, the private sector, and the nonprofit sector — must work together to achieve this excellence. Everyone involved should be held accountable.

“Building a Better Boise” is our slogan, but it is more than a catchphrase — it is an ongoing goal. We will continue to raise the bar as we achieve success and take on new challenges. The city of Boise was built by a combination of strong-willed business people and equally strong willed elected leaders who laid a solid foundation and left an enduring legacy for all of us to emulate. Working together, as partners, we can build on that foundation and achieve sustainable growth and success.

We want to talk about Boise not simply in terms of next year, but rather the next decade and the next half-century. Join us by learning more at Give us your feedback on what we can do together to continue to make Boise a great — and ever better — community.

George Iliff, president of Boise Elevated, wrote this on behalf of fellow board members JoAnn Butler, Brian Ballard, Bill Clark, Doug Fowler, Norm Semanko and Rob Perez.

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