Located north of Quinn’s Pond between the Boise River and Whitewater Park Boulevard in Boise’s West End, the park covers 55 acres, much of which is a series of ponds where people can swim, fish or just play.
The J.R. Simplot Foundation, named for Idaho agriculture giant and husband of local arts benefactor Esther Simplot, covered most of the park’s cost — a figure the group has not made public. Construction started in early 2015. Shortly afterward, work hit a snag when crews excavating the site unearthed tons of industrial debris, including rebar, concrete, petroleum contamination and at least one car.
Mayor David Bieter, speaking Wednesday before a crowd of hundreds at the parks’ grand opening, said construction workers hauled away a total of 150,000 cubic yards of waste, enough to fill 8,000 large dump trucks. At the peak of the cleanup, waste was being hauled away at a rate of 45 trucks per hour.
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The end result was a park that Esther Simplot herself said would make her late husband proud.
“I think Scott (Simplot, J.R.’s son) had that in mind with the architect when they designed it,” Esther Simplot said after Wednesday’s ceremony.