From the Opinion Editor

As Boise grows, what would you like to see come to the Treasure Valley?

Have you taken the survey being put together by the Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho yet?

There’s still time. COMPASS is seeking feedback from Treasure Valley residents about the future. It’s aptly named, “The Treasure Valley … A lot can change in 30 years.”

The survey, which can be found at compassidaho.org, is open through Nov. 3.

The survey asks questions about the type of house and the type of neighborhood you live in. It asks what type of innovation you’d like to see in the future, whether it’s telemedicine, 3D printers or sustainable farming. It asks about what type of work arrangement you expect to have in the future, such as a compressed week, job sharing or telecommuting.

Other questions are about future transportation (ride hailing, e-scooters, autonomous vehicles), shopping (online delivery, online pickup, shopping in person) and what will affect your future decisions on housing (price, cost of transportation, water availability and vulnerability to disasters, such as flooding or fires).

Several years ago, I was at an open house for a regional plan, and one of the planners said something that has stuck with me for a long time.

He said when planning for what you want the Treasure Valley to look like in the future, think about other places you’ve lived in the past and the things in those places that you liked. Make a list of features in other cities and think about how they’d work here in the Treasure Valley.

First of all, let me state right off the bat that Idaho, and particularly the Treasure Valley, is an incredible place to live. I’ve lived in New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio and San Francisco, and Boise is at the top of the list. We’ve found our forever home.

We have so many things here that are special and unique that if you were to move elsewhere, you’d say you wish you had it there. Floating the Boise River, Swan Falls Dam, Initial Point, Celebration Park, Lake Lowell, Ann Morrison Park, Julia Davis Park, the Boise River Greenbelt, Hyde Park, the Saturday markets, the list goes on.

But as we grow and approach a million people in the Treasure Valley, it’s fun to think about what might come here or what we might be able to develop successfully with increased growth, not always thinking about the negatives that come with growth.

So here goes. Here’s my list of things I liked when we lived in Rochester, New York, a city of about 200,000 in a metro area of about 1.2 million.

Strong Museum, which I think is now named the Strong National Museum of Play. It had a carousel and several rooms where children could play with interactive exhibits, ride on a mini train and go pretend-shopping in a mock Wegmans grocery store. Great for little kids. It seems like the Children’s Museum of Idaho in Meridian is filling this niche, and as we grow, places like Children’s Museum of Idaho will grow more successful.

Genesee Country Village and Museum. This is my absolute favorite. I actually used to go there when I was a kid, and I took my sons there later as a dad. It’s a 19th century living history museum, complete with a blacksmith shop, newspaper and printing shop, re-enactors in period costumes and, my favorite, live maple syrup making demonstrations in the fall. When I drive by the old houses that St. Luke’s has temporarily parked off Warm Springs Avenue, I think how great it would be to re-create Genesee Country Village and Museum here.

Rochester Museum and Science Center. Here’s the good news on that one: We already have that here with The Discovery Center of Idaho. Again, as we grow, this will only get bigger and better.

Semi-pro sports. Rochester had AAA baseball Rochester Red Wings, with a really top-notch 13,000-capacity ballpark, and the American Hockey League Rochester Americans. We’re well on our way with the Boise Hawks and the Idaho Steelheads.

Mendon Ponds Park. This is a county park of 2,500 acres of woods, ponds, 30 miles of trails, lodges, shelters, a sensory garden and sledding hills. It’s hard to compare Idaho’s world-class outdoors amenities, especially when we have the Greenbelt, but Mendon Ponds Park was a nice, all-in-one spot for multiple uses.

Branch library. We had a Rochester Public Library branch that was about a half-mile from our house, and my wife and I used to put the boys in the stroller and walk down and spend a couple of hours, whether it was a story time, an activity or just browsing. Rochester has 10 branches throughout the city. Boise has half that.

I’m curious to hear what others have enjoyed about other places they’ve lived and how those amenities would work here.

In the meantime, let COMPASS know how you envision the future by filling out its survey this month at compassidaho.org.

Scott McIntosh is the opinion editor of the Idaho Statesman. You can email him at smcintosh@idahostatesman.com or call him at 208-377-6202. Follow him on Twitter @ScottMcIntosh12.

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What is this column all about?

This column shares the personal opinions of Idaho Statesman opinion editor Scott McIntosh on current issues in the Treasure Valley, in Idaho and nationally. It represents one person’s opinion and is intended to spur a conversation and solicit others’ opinions. It is intended to be part of an ongoing civil discussion with the ultimate goal of providing solutions to community problems and making this a better place to live, work and play. Readers are encouraged to express their thoughts by submitting a letter to the editor. Click on “Submit a letter or opinion” at idahostatesman.com/opinion.

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Always full of opinions and tolerant of others, Scott McIntosh is the opinions editor for the Idaho Statesman. He has won dozens of state and national awards, including Best Editorial from the Idaho Press Club for 2017.
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