$160,000 donated for land next to Idaho Shakespeare Festival

A group has about a third of the money it still needs for the property.

sberg@idahostatesman.comJuly 11, 2014 

The Idaho Foundation for Parks and Lands will find a way to buy the land next to Idaho Shakespeare Festival's amphitheater, even if it can't come up with all the money by the end of the year, executive director Jan Johns said Thursday.

If fundraising dries up for some reason, Johns said, the foundation would "go back to the drawing board" with the landowners.

"We're not stepping off it, no matter what," she said. "We have no intentions whatsoever of giving this away."

In March, the foundation agreed to pay $1 million for 12 acres just west of the Shakespeare Festival's amphitheater in Boise's East End. The landowners, Jerry Rees and David and Ann Triplett, received $500,000 as a down payment. The foundation committed to pay the remaining $500,000 by the end of the year.

The property also borders Barber Pool Conservation Area, which the foundation controls.

The foundation's agreement to buy the land ended a yearlong battle between ISF and Jim Conger, a developer who wanted to build dozens of homes and a few storage buildings on it.

Festival supporters worried that noise from Conger's development would detract from its performances. And some supporters predicted that people living in the homes would someday complain about noise from the amphitheater and seek to restrict performances.

The total price tag includes compensation for the time and money Conger put into planning the development. It's unclear how much of the money will go to him.

Once the purchase is final, the foundation will begin the process of cleaning up two inactive sewage lagoons on the property.

Johns said the foundation is waiting for results of an Idaho Department of Environmental Quality study on the lagoons to determine what has to be done with them. It's possible that filling them in is adequate, she said. That process would take a lot less money and time than removing layers of soil and muck that collected in them when they were active.

Johns said people and companies have pledged $300,000 worth of donations of time and equipment use for remediation and development of the property once it's in the foundation's hands.

Options for the property's end use are wide open, Johns said. She said the foundation wants it to be open to the public.

Sven Berg: 377-6275

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service