Meridian mayor touts ‘unprecedented’ public safety project

Tammy de Weerd delivered her 11th annual State of the City address Wednesday.

cmsewell@idahostatesman.comFebruary 6, 2014 


    Q: How, if at all, has your style changed as mayor since taking office 10 years ago?

    A: I’d like to think I’m more patient … kind of. Government is purposely slow to allow for the checks and balances of public comment and transparency. At home and as a small business owner, we can make, in most cases, instantaneous decisions, which is not usually possible in public office. My sense of urgency sometimes conflicts with the speed of government.

    Q: What are some of your goals for 2014 as mayor?

    A: In the coming year I’d like to build upon our successes, continuing to ensure Meridian remains the safest community in Idaho. But we cannot rest there. We must focus efforts on developing our children, who hold the future in their hands. For example, by working with the Boys & Girls Club in Meridian to expand so they will be able to accommodate more kids who want a safe place and caring adults to spend time with after school. Continue to build an environment where businesses thrive and to attract new businesses. We need to identify and grow the future Scentsys of our world right here in our community.

    Q: Nampa Mayor Bob Henry said he wants to know the secret to Meridian's “impressive park system.” So, what is the secret?

    A: As in nearly everything else we do as a city, partnerships are the key to our incredible park system. We create a vision and work with our businesses, citizens, and volunteers to accomplish it. Another important part of our secret — our employees who are passionate about what they are doing and follow the principles of “The Meridian Way.”

    Q: How can citizens communicate with you?

    A: I can be reached by email at; at the office, 489-0529; or while out in the community — at church, in the grocery store, at concerts, school or sporting events; at Town Hall meetings, Coffee with the Mayor; on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

This summer, the city plans to break ground on a $5 million public safety training center — the first of its kind in the state and the Pacific Northwest, Mayor Tammy de Weerd said Wednesday.

Featuring an indoor shooting range, mock scenario village, classrooms and dog-training equipment, the facility will be geared toward multi-agency major catastrophe training for first responders, including police, fire and public works.

De Weerd called the collaboration “unprecedented.” The shared-use facility’s mock scenario village will provide a much-needed resource “where we can all come together and train as a region,” she said.

The facility will be at the Meridian Police Department north of Interstate 84 off Locust Grove Road, next to the Idaho State Police Headquarters, Peace Officer Standards Training and the Idaho State University Emergency Management and Fire Services campus.

Construction of the 31,000-square-foot facility should be completed in mid-2015.

Other highlight’s from de Weerd’s 11th annual speech:

- More than 1,400 jobs were created in Meridian last year, with more than 900 in the fields of healthcare, administrative, professional and science. Meridian’s unemployment rate is 5 percent.

- Of the more than $400 million in residential and commercial development in 2013, one-third came from commercial projects like Scentsy’s office tower and The Village at Meridian.

- The city is partnering with the YMCA to build a new facility in South Meridian. The city also is partnering with the Boys and Girls Club of Ada County for a new gymnasium and expanded recreation programs.

- After nearly a year of detours, the Meridian split corridor opened in September. The city’s next big road project, rebuilding the I-84 Meridian Road interchange, gets under way this spring and will be completed in late 2015.

- Legacy awards went to the people responsible for conceiving, building and raising the money for the 60-acre, $25 million Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park: Julius’ son Eugene Kleiner and other members of the Kleiner family trust, Eldon Gray, Mike Huter and Mike Kleiner.

Cynthia Sewell: 377-6428, Twitter: @CynthiaSewell

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