Julia Davis Park, Boise’s oldest park, marked its first century in 2007.
Ever since, a major restoration effort has been underway, led by the Julia Davis Park Second Century Coalition working alongside Boise Parks and Recreation and community groups.
“We like to say we’re giving Julia a new dress,” said Toby Norton, parks resource planning manager.
Some projects, including a new agricultural pavilion, are complete. Others, like a new entrance to the Bob Gibb Friendship bridge on the Boise State side of the river are in the planning stages. Others are in progress, including a grand Rotary plaza that will open in the summer of 2017.
Now, park visitors will be able to enjoy another new feature, the first of what will be four “River Nodes” that will dot the banks of the Boise River.
The first node, or special sitting and river viewing area — near, but apart from the Greenbelt — has been installed near the Gene Harris Bandshell thanks to donations from the Boise Host Lions Club.
It’s unclear where and when the remaining nodes will be installed. The city is still looking for groups or donors who might like to help pay for the nodes, said Norton.
The nodes and other park improvements are all part of a master plan that arose from a design competition hosted by the Julia Davis Park Second Century Coalition in 2006.
Diane Davis Myklegard, great granddaughter of Boise pioneers Julia and Tom Davis, owners of the apple orchards that became the park, heads the coalition.
“We’re calling the first node the ‘eyes to the river’ because the Lions have so many sight-related charities,” she said, including donation drives for eye glasses and clinics.
The club, which has only around 20 members, spent years raising the money to build the first node, said Myklegard.
“It’s a compliment to their organization. This is who Boise is,” she said. “All the organizations that have joined to fill these different needs.”
The park improvement project has hundreds of donors so far, she said.