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First look: Ann Morrison park set for makeover

Fast in the Morning Wild 101

DThe first round of concepts for Boise’s Ann Morrison Park – the city’s largest – are in.

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 The 153-acre park first opened in 1959, a gift from Morrison-Knudsen founder Harry Morrison, named in honor of his late wife.  With MK’s engineering prowess and financial muscle, the park was completed in just ten months.

Now, the City of Boise hopes to bring about a number of upgrades to the sprawling grass patch as it prepares to celebrate 60 years.

Three concepts are being presented at open house events – and all maintain the park’s primary focus on sports and recreation. But the details of the plans could offer many new amenities to the park.

Concept A

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As with all of the presented concepts, this would refine and simplify the park’s network of roads. Currently a confusing patchwork of curly drives that scatter all throughout the park, this concept would essentially make on large loop – with a second smaller loop around the baseball fields in the southeast corner.

Concept A would also feature a renovated fountain and interactive spray area and add an amphitheater. Along the river, a large beach would be added near the Old Timer’s Shelter. 

For sports users – play fields would be expanded, the disc golf course would be improved and additional softball fields would be installed.

Concept B

The second concept would significantly enlarge the existing pond in the park’s southwest corner. An off-leash dog area would be added, and a multi-use space near the existing playground would be installed. A beach and riparian channel would be added along the river in the north end of the park – plus a new nature trail would be added. The focus of this concept is primarily on the nature use aspects of the park – similar to the neighboring Kathryn Albertson Park

Concept C

This set of ideas is perhaps the most ambitious. It would restore the fountain and add interactive jets, add a permanent festival stage and install a festival street for pedestrians and food trucks.  The set of ideas almost feel like a “permanent River Festival” concept.

Along the river, this concept would add reservable shelters along the waterway – plus a watercraft launch and public viewing amphitheater for river rapid activities. It would also include a large sandy beach.

In the middle of the existing pond, a fenced dog off-leash area would be featured with a dog beach – somewhat segregated from the rest of the park. The pond would also feature a a casting platform for fishing.

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