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Sven Berg: What’ll happen to the old Grove bricks?

A rendering of what The Grove Plaza will look like from the northeast after renovation.
A rendering of what The Grove Plaza will look like from the northeast after renovation. Worrell Communications

The news brief I wrote yesterday on the renovation of The Grove Plaza in Downtown Boise got way more attention than I expected.

Among the questions I received was, “What will happen to the old bricks that will be removed to make way for the new ones?

After a quick call to the very helpful Laura Williams at Capital City Development Corporation, Boise urban renewal agency and owner of The Grove, I think I have it figured out.

Here goes: The old bricks, which have been in place for almost 30 years, have the profile of a capital “I” — a shape that’s hard to reproduce because the mold for those original bricks came was unique to CCDC. Sometime since the production of those original bricks, that mold broke.

The renewal agency expects most of the bricks that are being removed from The Grove to break — if they haven’t broken already — because they’re so brittle from decades of exposure to the elements, not to mention concert- and event-goers.

The agency will place the “I” bricks that do survive excavation into storage. It will use them to replace broken or deteriorated bricks in CCDC-owned streetscapes, such as 8th Street, where the same shape of brick is in use.

To those whose names are on the old bricks, fear not; your name will not be lost. In fact, it might be duplicated if your brick survived and ends up in another streetscape. That’s because CCDC, “as a special gift to the community,” will put copy the inscriptions from the old bricks into the new ones. Those bricks will be placed closest to the fountain in the center of The Grove.

You can find information on how to get your name inscribed on a new brick here.

In a new development, Williams told me CCDC will allow youth and school groups to sell brick inscriptions as a fundraiser for their own programs. Those groups will receive $5 for every red, $60 brick inscription they sell and $10 for every black, $100 brick they sell, Williams said. For more information, call Williams at (208) 391-7305.

I hope this clears up any questions about The Grove renovation project. If not, let us know.

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