A mild controversy surfaced more than two years ago in Boise's Central Bench neighborhood when the Maverik gas station company unveiled plans to build a store on the site of the former Franklin School.
Many neighbors didn't want a gas station right next to the planned Franklin Park, for which they'd waited years. They don't have to worry anymore — at least not for a few years.
Maverik has indefinitely shelved plans to build the store on the southwest corner of Orchard Street and Franklin Road, Todd Meyers, the company's director of entitlements and Planning, said Wednesday.
In fact, Meyers said, Maverik has no plans for the 4.74 acres it owns bordering Orchard and Franklin, with the park behind them. The company might build a store someday, he said, or it could sell the land if the right offer came along.
Neighborhood association President Randy Johnson said people in the Central Bench are happy about the shelving. Neighbors don't mind a convenience store, Johnson said, but they don't want a gas station next to the park.
Someday, Johnson would like to see a retail or restaurant development occur on the Maverik acreage.
Meanwhile, the city of Boise is set to dedicate the three-acre Franklin Park, located south and west of the Maverik property, at 5:30 p.m. Monday, June 18. The neighborhood association plans an ice cream social at the event, reflecting its excitement about the park's opening, Johnson said.
"A lot of the times with a neighborhood project we're trying to block a development or somebody's not happy with something," Johnson said. "But this was a project that, from the beginning, it got people activated. It got people to join our board. And people have been so excited."
The city bought the park land in 2013 from the Boise School District with an option to buy the additional 4.74 acres of frontage ground along Franklin and Orchard. The city hoped to find a nonprofit organization or business whose mission fit the park to occupy the frontage property. It fielded several inquiries, but none led to a deal.
Maverik bought the land in 2015 and began working on a proposal to develop it. The company withdrew its application in January 2017, city planner Cody Riddle said. Maverik would have to submit a new application before building there, Riddle said.
Boise has completed initial development of the park, adding sod, an irrigation system, pathways and a parking lot. It does not have a restroom yet.
Full development of the park, with amenities like a playground, bocce courts and a picnic shelter, will wait until money is available, Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway said.