Locally owned. Supported by members.

Quiet effort could bring urban renewal to Boise’s Bench

Tamarack Resort Q4 2020
Don L. Day
BoiseDev.com

BOISE – Urban renewal may expand beyond downtown if a plan in the works from the Capital City Development Corp. & the City of Boise takes hold.

BoiseDev Project Tracker

  • CCDC Bench urban renewal district

    Click here for details, information & past stories

 Boise bench tank farms via Flickr user  Laura Gilmor
Boise bench tank farms via Flickr user Laura Gilmor

CCDC officials have been quietly meeting since last year to study the feasibility of adding a fifth urban renewal district in Boise.  The CCDC’s original district in the downtown core will formally sunset next year, and in recent years officials have sought to keep the organization alive by adding new responsibilities and expanding the impact of urban renewal to other portions of Boise.

CCDC was founded as the Boise Redevelopment Agency in 1965, and immediately set about building a large shopping mall in the downtown Boise core – clear-cutting old buildings, and nearly taking out the Egyptian Theater.  As the project stalled, Harpers Magazine declared “Boise stands an excellent chance of becoming the first American city to have eradicated itself.” 

In the 1987, the first district was formed in the “downtown core” for a term of 30 years.  New districts have been added along Myrtle/River Street, the westside of downtown and 30th street.

- Story continues below ads -
IBL Events
Regence

In Idaho, urban renewal districts use public funds to make changes to items like transportation, infrastructure, parking and streetscapes. CCDC has also the power of eminent domain, and has acquired property and sold it to developers for commercial projects. The districts are funded with expected gains in tax revenue — instead of taxes from increased property value going to schools, fire and police – they are given to the urban renewal district during its 30-year term.

Next up – the city hopes to take the agency’s mission far beyond downtown. According to documents acquired from CCDC by BoiseDev.com, it is in the early stages of adding a large district that would encompass much of the bench – with particular areas of focus around Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, the oil & gas tank farm on Curtis and the commercial corridors of Overland Rd. and Vista Ave.

CCDC has prepared a draft map of a proposed revenue allocation area:

The new area, currently in draft form, would include Overland Rd., much of Vista Ave., Curtis Rd., the area of the oil and gas tank farm – and an area including  Vista Village (disclosure: my family owns this shopping center, but I’m not a partner in the business. Also, my grandfather was an early board member of the Boise Redevelopment Agency in the late 1960s and early 1970s).

Beyond its work with parcels of land, CCDC has used its funding for projects like streetscapes, trees, studies, parking garages, the Grove plaza, and even funding of projects not directly connected to urban renewal like a grant to business incubator Trailhead.

Students at Utah State University spent a semester late last year putting together ideas for how to revitalize sections of the Bench. One idea even turned the tank farm into a public park – with a playground, walking paths and a sloping hill and overlook on top of one of the tanks (providing “a 360 degree view of the central bench and surrounding areas.”) This is just one of several pie-in-the-sky ideas you can see presented here.

CCDC has not yet conducted broad outreach on the expansion idea – but has been working on the plan for nearly a year. Many major landowners and residents impacted have not yet been contacted or informed of the plan – and this story is the first time the plan has been exposed to the public after inquiries and requests under Idaho’s state public records law. One document notes that the district has not yet resolved “how much public engagement is desired with neighborhood stakeholders.”

The agency has put together an initial estimate of costs – totaling about $405,000 to get the plan going. 

According to those documents obtained by BoiseDev.com, CCDC has a large number of unresolved questions:

  • How a 2015 survey for Vista Ave. fits into a possible district
  • Should a steering committee be formed, and if so who should be on it
  • How much collaboration should happen with overlapping taxing districts
  • Who will pay for startup expense

A timeline for creation of the possible district has not yet been established.

Sign up to get BoiseDev updates by email.

Local news. Locally owned. Supported by members.

Your membership makes these stories possible. Plus, you get our popular daily email with all our stories delivered straight to you.

Don Day
Don is the founder and editor of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow.

Boise Airport applies for large new parking garage, but no timeline is set

Boise Airport officials are looking at the next step in the longterm plan to expand and upgrade the largest airport in the...

SUEZ asks to increase residential and business rates; home increases could average nearly $80/year

SUEZ, the French company that delivers water to nearly 100,000 Ada County homes and commercial buildings, has...

Idaho’s state parks saw more visitors than ever before; improvements planned

By Natasha Williams / Idaho News 6 Idaho's State Parks are seeing a record-breaking...

Winter adjustments to Whitewater Park planned to stop ‘collapsing’ wave

Boise’s expanded whitewater park technically opened last July, but the city closed the centerpiece wave formation to wave riding action for nearly...

Popular

Ketchum could see new 4-star hotel along Main St.

Ketchum's Planning and Zoning met Tuesday to consider a proposal to add a new four-star hotel to the main gateway to the...

Growth & Ada elections: Homebuilders, developers weigh in with cash and ads

Ada County’s local elections raked in big donations, with homebuilders and an associated political action committee making...

New cryotherapy and wellness spa set for Boise’s Bown Crossing

A new wellness business will open in Bown Crossing, on the ground floor of an office building. Business owner Tim Jolicoeur says Restore...

Building demolition will wait so Boise & nonprofits can open winter homeless shelter

A warm place to go is opening for those experiencing homeless in Boise during the pandemic. On November 1,...
Tamarack Resort Q4 2020

Related

“CCDC 3.0:” McLean talks about housing and the direction of Boise’s urban renewal agency

Boise Mayor Lauren McLean largely campaigned on changing the approach to growth and housing in Boise. With both rent and housing prices...

‘A big project:’ CCDC wants mixed-use, affordable housing project in west downtown

Boise’s urban renewal agency is planning an affordable housing project to spur more development on the western edge of downtown. 

Updated: CCDC gives first approval to new 12-story senior apartment project in Boise

Whether or not Boise gets a new main library anytime soon, a local developer is plowing ahead with a new 12-story tower...

Portion of Boise’s 8th Street will get a makeover: bikes, sidewalks, patios

Capital City Development Corporation (CCDC) began construction this week on 8th Street between Bannock Street and State Street in Downtown Boise.
SERVPRO Certified

Latest

Growth & Ada elections: Homebuilders, developers weigh in with cash and ads

Ada County’s local elections raked in big donations, with homebuilders and an associated political action committee making...

Ketchum could see new 4-star hotel along Main St.

Ketchum's Planning and Zoning met Tuesday to consider a proposal to add a new four-star hotel to the main gateway to the...

Saint Als opens clinic for COVID patients who don’t need to be in the hospital

Saint Alphonsus Health System opened a new clinic on the Boise Bench for COVID-19 patients who need medical care -- but don't...

Boise discussing housing incentive for ‘extremely low-income’ units

Boise is launching another effort to encourage developers to build affordable housing.  Mayor Lauren McLean is resurrecting an old...

Building demolition will wait so Boise & nonprofits can open winter homeless shelter

A warm place to go is opening for those experiencing homeless in Boise during the pandemic. On November 1,...

Public art honoring Central Addition history coming to Broad Street in 2021

A new public art piece is coming to Broad Street next summer.  On Tuesday, Boise City Council approved a...