What to know about the upcoming downtown park
Construction on a new downtown park that will feature a large grassy area, seating, shade and possibly a fog machine will begin next spring.
The 30,000-square-foot park, referred to as the Westside Urban Park, at 11th and Bannock streets, will be the second-largest urban park in Idaho. The largest is Cecil D. Andrus Park, located across from the Idaho statehouse and formerly known as Capitol Park.
The park is part of an effort to help shape the surrounding neighborhood as it grows and more housing comes into place. Scott Schoenherr, a partner in Rafanelli & Nahas, which will begin work next month on an adjacent 10-story office building, said it will be more than a “pocket park” described in previous press reports.
When he thinks of a pocket park, Schoenherr said he envisions something the size of a few parking spots or a tiny spot of land.
“The idea is to try to create a place where kids could play, people can get lunch,” Schoenherr said in an interview with the Statesman. “If you worked in one of the buildings nearby … and your spouse wanted to come down and bring the kids and have lunch in the park, you can do that.”
The addition of a fog machine could provide better cooling for park visitors than a traditional fountain, Schoenherr said.
Boise’s urban-renewal agency, the Capital City Development Corp, is contributing $2 million toward the park, and the city will provide $1 million. CCDC’s contribution will include up to $200,000 for a piece of public art for the park. CCDC will work with the Boise Arts and History Department to commission a large, interactive piece.
Rafanelli & Nahas currently operates a parking lot on the space, under a long-term lease with Rudolph Investments of Boise. Rafanelli & Nahas will maintain the lease, which has about 43 years remaining, Schoenherr said. The city has an option to buy the property at the end of the lease.
“This is an amenity to ensure that we have quality neighborhoods evolving in Downtown,” CCDC senior project manager Doug Woodruff said at the July board meeting.
“I just think it’s so well positioned,” Boise Mayor David Bieter said at the July CCDC meeting. “You look at the effort to look at Downtown and where we needed open space, … as this area develops, the timing is just right.”
The features of the park were first reported on BoiseDev.com.