I read with interest the Sept. 26 front-page article about the proposal to build a new stadium along Americana Boulevard in Boise.
You may remember in 1989 I, along with my fellow Ada County Commissioners Vern Bisterfeldt and Mike Johnson, struck a deal with the Boise Hawks which allowed the minor league baseball team to build at their expense the stadium you see today on Ada County fairgrounds land, leased for $1 a year for 99 years as I recall. That contract included land for free parking and a bike path to get additional people there easily and conveniently.
The land they are still using to this day was formerly a sewage lagoon system for the fairgrounds and was converted for their use. The location was judged to be central for fans and easy to get to.
As I understand, the argument for moving the stadium is because the players’ accommodations are inadequate and outdated. At far less expense and at the Hawks owners’ cost, the stadium could be updated without using public funds.
It’s been about 30 years and it probably is time for updates. However, the Hawks have operated this program as a business and most businesses plan for improvements through a dedicated line item.
Additionally, there are many years left on the $1-a-year deal with the county, so not requiring an expense of $15.9 million for land paid for by public funds.
Lastly, if the City of Boise is investing $3 million and the Greater Boise Auditorium District is investing $5 million and paying $1.3 million a year for 20 years, why would the city end up owning the stadium? Where are the appropriate studies, supplied by the developer at his expense, to move this project forward, such as an analysis of the economics and the environmental, traffic, noise, light and parking impacts?
The neighbors to this project will see a decrease in their home values due to additional traffic, noise and lights. Several thousand people are impacted for 3,200 to 4,000 people who attend a game on average.
We the people deserve the right to vote on this public funds expenditure. We haven’t heard that we are going to be given that option.
Judy Peavey-Derr is a former Ada County commissioner and former member of the Greater Boise Auditorium District Board of Directors. For more on opposition to the proposed stadium, visit concernedboisetaxpayers.com.