Marty Hill and Dixie Cook long envisioned turning part of their South Meridian family farm into a community park. The Treasure Valley YMCA has envisioned building a new facility and aquatics center in that area. The West Ada School District needs a new elementary school in the same part of town. And the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation has a long and storied tradition of supporting education and community projects.
Earlier this year, in a shop on the Hill family farm, these groups came together with the idea of collaborating on a project that would accomplish all of these needs and wants.
On Thursday, the Albertson Foundation and Hill family took the first steps to tip the project from dream to reality: a $4 million donation from the foundation and a 22-acre land donation from the family.
“Dixie and Marty have set into a motion a transformative project, “ Jamie MacMillan, president of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, said at a news conference in the same shop where the project was conceived.
“This community will be blessed with a wonderful place to play, to learn and to grow at their family YMCA, and their city park and a new elementary school.”
“I’m not often speechless, “ an emotional YMCA CEO Jim Everett said. “Look at what Joe Albertson is continuing to do for this state.”
Where is it? Eagle Road south of Amity Road on 22 acres donated by the Hill family and Brighton Corporation.
What will be there? A 90,000-square-foot YMCA facility with an aquatics center and gym; an elementary school for 650 students; a city park; and possibly a city library, all housed in one complex.
What is the cost? The YMCA is expected to cost about $20 million and the school about $12 million. Costs for the park and other possible amenities are still being worked out.
Where will the money come from? The YMCA is embarking on a fundraising campaign kickstarted by the Albertson donation.
The West Ada School District will ask voters in March to approve a school construction bond to pay for the school, along with several other district schools.
When would building begin? If the YMCA capital campaign is successful and voters approve the school bond, construction could begin in the summer and take about 18 months to complete.
What about the family’s property? Meridian City Council last week approved Hill’s Century Farm, a 222-acre, 685-home subdivision being developed by Brighton Corp. on the farm adjacent to the YMCA complex.
Cynthia Sewell: 377-6428, Twitter: @CynthiaSewell
This story originally ran Nov. 11, 2014.