Boise & Garden City

Ann Morrison Park open house coming Wednesday

A bird's-eye view of the fountain at Ann Morrison Park

Take a ride over Boise's famous fountain.
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Take a ride over Boise's famous fountain.

Boise Parks and Recreation isn’t naming many specific improvements it wants to see in Ann Morrison Park, but the department has a list of six goals for an update to the park’s master plan.

Those goals are:

• Improvements that reflect the history and importance of Ann Morrison Park

• Better entrances, as well as travel and wayfinding systems throughout the park

• Enhanced ecological and recreational use of the Boise River, which runs along the park’s northern boundary, and other waterways

• Restored and enhanced historic features

• Better amenities for sports and special events

• An overall experience that’s more reflective of “the current and evolving needs of the community”

With these items in mind, Parks and Recreation is inviting the public to attend an open house on Wednesday afternoon and evening to voice ideas for refreshing Ann Morrison Park.

The master plan has not been updated since 1959, when the park was first built. Parks and Recreation has received more than 1,000 comments on the update through face-to-face conversations, social media surveys and during the department’s first open house in July.

Wednesday’s open house is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. at the Old Timers Shelter on the northeast side of the park, 1104 Royal Blvd.

COMING SOON TO ANN MORRISON?

Here’s a quick sampling of ideas for improving Ann Morrison Park that the city of Boise, Harry W. Morrison Foundation and their consultant are talking about:

Fountain: City leaders worry that the 20-year-old fountain is a hazard. Children sometimes get in its concrete pool, which isn’t meant for swimming. The foundation’s president thinks it should be more inviting and useful, like a splash pad.

Clock tower: Some say the digital clock at the top of the tower doesn’t fit the park’s character. There’s some talk of putting an analog clock face in its place or, perhaps, even a sundial.

Entrances: Are they too hidden, particularly on the park’s east side? Would prominent gateways or arches improve them?

Roads, pathways: Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway thinks a new bike, car and pedestrian network is worth a look. He’d like to see better, more efficient connections throughout the park.

Parking: The current layout forces people to walk a long way to some of their activities. New parking locations could shorten those trips.

Shelters: Old Timer’s Shelter, the only one in the park, might be ready for a facelift. Holloway said another shelter or two —perhaps one in the park’s northwest corner — might be in order, too.

Piers: A couple piers would give water lovers new ways to be close to the Boise River, which runs all along the park’s north side.

Playground: No changes to the playground itself are likely, but Holloway thinks a few interactive features that connect it to the fountain plaza could make that stretch of ground more inviting.

Signs: Helping people use Ann Morrison’s many sports fields, disc golf course and other features starts with helping them find those amenities. Not much of that direction exists right now.

ANN MORRISON AND HER PARK

Idaho native Ann Daly grew up in Boise and worked as a secretary at the Capitol.

In 1914, she married Morrison Knudsen Corp. founder Harry Morrison. She often visited the company’s construction projects and chronicled her experiences in the book “Those Were the Days.”

She died of leukemia in 1957. Shortly thereafter, Harry Morrison bought the land south of the Boise River between Capitol and Americana boulevards. Company workers turned the land into a park, which Morrison donated to the city on June 7, 1959.

Today, the park’s amenities include an outdoor gym, softball and soccer fields, a cricket field and courts for tennis, horseshoes and volleyball.

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