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Boise group wants ballot initiatives for public votes on library, baseball stadium

Plans for a new Downtown Boise library call for a south-facing wall of glass overlooking the Boise River and Greenbelt. It anticipates the removal of The Cabin, a nearly 80-year-old building between the river and the library.
Plans for a new Downtown Boise library call for a south-facing wall of glass overlooking the Boise River and Greenbelt. It anticipates the removal of The Cabin, a nearly 80-year-old building between the river and the library.

A group of Boise residents hopes to create a pair of initiatives that eventually would lead to public votes on controversial library and stadium projects in the city.

In a Friday afternoon press release, a group called Boise Working Together wrote that it is proposing initiatives for Certificates of Review to the city. They call for a pair of public votes: one on a proposed stadium that would house the Boise Hawks and host other events, and another on the new library that is planned for downtown.

After review, which must take 20 days, 5,000 signatures would have to be collected in order to put the measures on a ballot, according to the release.

Representative John Gannon said that, with Boise’s constant growth, it is only fair that people of the city get the chance to vote on its major projects. The release cites votes on levies and bond elections as similar situations; if those had votes, the stadium and library should, too.

“Growth is changing Boise and this public discussion will let us know where the people of Boise want our city to go,” he said in the release. “Let’s talk about it. Let’s debate. Let’s vote.”

City of Boise spokesman Mike Journee said the city is aware of Boise Working Together’s proposals.

“We’re still reviewing the idea. We’re still not even sure what kind of legal mechanism is possible,” Journee told the Statesman.

An Atlanta-based developer plans to build a baseball stadium in the West End, on the south side of Main Street between Whitewater Park Boulevard and 27th Street. A new library is set to be built downtown overlooking the Boise River and Greenbelt.

Boise Working Together believes that the projects should be voted upon rather than put in the hands of a city vote.

“We saw how public votes on horse racing and Medicaid energized voters and volunteers, and resulted in a huge and vibrant turnout last November 7,” Gannon said in the statement. “People were engaged and talking to each other for once.”

Journee said that in voting for City Council members and other elected officials, the public has put its trust in their decision-making. Journee also noted that there have been several open houses on both of the projects, at which citizens have had the opportunity to voice concerns.

“Both of these projects have had and will continue to have extensive public comment and review if and when they move forward,” Journee said. “We believe that those projects are well within bounds of those projects (that elected officials can handle).”

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