What to do with Hillside to the Hollow?

sberg@idahostatesman.comMarch 3, 2014 

Two open houses this week will allow the public to tell the city of Boise where it should put trails, trailheads and other amenities on the Hillside to the Hollow property.

The city bought the 260 acres last spring, answering the prayers of hikers, bikers and Foothills enthusiasts who hoped to see the land preserved.

The first open house is at 6 p.m. today. The second is at noon Wednesday. Both meetings will be held in the Highlands Event Center, 2590 N. Bogus Basin Road.

For years, protecting Hillside to the Hollow trails - named for Hillside Junior High and Harrison Hollow - has been near the top of the wish list for people who recreate in the Foothills. Their dream appeared in jeopardy when Meridian real estate developer DBSI proposed a massive housing subdivision in the area.

At the tail end of the Treasure Valley's real estate boom, 51 investors paid more than $6 million for stakes in the DBSI project.

After the project fizzled, the investors were able to separate ownership of the land from DBSI's bankruptcy proceedings. They put the land on the market in 2011 and received a few offers, but none that qualified as legitimate.

All along, people have hiked and biked on the property. Concerns about development persisted, and the Hillside to the Hollow Coalition formed with the mission of convincing the city of Boise to preserve the area for public recreation. The Land Trust of the Treasure Valley raised money from the public to buy 58 acres just east of Harrison Hollow in late 2011.

The city used money from its Foothills fund, an account established by a special levy that passed in 2001 with the mission of protecting undeveloped Foothills land. Over the past decade, the city used that account to protect about 11,000 acres in the Foothills. About $1.8 million remains.

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