Guest Opinions

Missouri visitors: ‘Boise Nice’ just scratches surface of what community has to offer

A bicyclist rides through Marianne Williams Park in the east end of Boise.
A bicyclist rides through Marianne Williams Park in the east end of Boise.

A delegation of business and community leaders from Springfield, Missouri, recently traveled to Boise to learn more about your city. We had read and heard about the city’s explosive growth and the spirit of “Boise Nice,” but it’s clear from our time there that the stories only scratch the surface.

The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce has been leading its annual Community Leadership Visit for nearly 25 years, and Boise is unique in that it is the only city we have visited more than once (our first visit was in 1997). Now, as then, our hosts with the Boise Metro Chamber helped line up an inspiring list of speakers and tours to show us what makes Boise so special.

We discovered a lot during our two-plus days in your city:

▪  Your outdoor amenities and focus on quality of life are remarkable, and you are to be commended for your ongoing commitment to protecting both of those key features of your community.

▪  You benefit from courageous leaders who are willing to work together, and that desire for collaborative, cohesive leadership has been crucial to your success.

▪  You continue to look to the future — from your willingness to prepare students for an ever-changing workforce to your encouragement of density in downtown development to maintain a vibrant, walkable center city.

Boise and Springfield have a lot in common: a spirit of collaboration, a significant university presence and a blend of urban amenities with access to outdoor living. Now it’s time for us to distill what we’ve learned from your city, as well as some of our previous visits, and determine how to apply those best practices in our region. We left your city energized about the future of ours.

On behalf of the 80 leaders from Springfield’s business, education and government sectors who visited Boise, thank you to Chamber President and CEO Bill Connors and the rest of the talented chamber staff, Mayor David Bieter and the many business and community leaders who met with us during our time there. You displayed genuine hospitality and we are very grateful for the time and energy and outpouring of support from your community. Boise has much to be proud of!

Matt Morrow is president of the Springfield, Missouri, Area Chamber of Commerce.