Bieter: New Grove Plaza needs more shade

Officials with the Capital City Development Corporation, Downtown Boise Association, and Greater Boise Auditorium District celebrated the reopening of Boise's Grove Plaza with the first Alive After Five of the season last week.

The plaza is currently owned by CCDC and managed by GBAD. The DBA runs the popular Alive After Five event.  And in the next year or so, the City of Boise will take over ownership of the plaza when CCDC's central district terminates or "sunsets."

CCDC revamped the plaza with new bricks, an upgraded fountain, new wi-fi and more. It complements an expanded Boise Centre West, new walkway and City Center Plaza developments.

An initial rendering showed large sails around the perimeter of the Grove Plaza to provide shade. The sails were not installed for engineering reasons.

An initial rendering showed large sails around the perimeter of the Grove Plaza to provide shade. The sails were not installed for engineering reasons.

But one planned improvement didn't come to life: large sail-like canopies that would have provided shade on hot Boise summer days.  

Boise's mayor lauded the new plaza during a Monday meeting of CCDC - but had a complaint.

“My only concern is talking about shade during events in particular.  I understand logistically that from an engineering standpoint we couldn’t put the sails in during the initial design," he said.

CCDC purchased some fixed shade-type shades when the big splashy sails didn't work out. Bieter requested more of those.

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Google Earth shows the many mature trees that were removed for a Grove Plaza revamp

Google Earth shows the many mature trees that were removed for a Grove Plaza revamp

"Until the trees get bigger, that would help," he said.

As part of the projects, more than 56 mature trees were removed in the plaza and along the north, south and east spokes.  New trees were planted with so-called Silva cells to allow for better root growth - but the trees are not well developed and provide little shade for now.

CCDC Executive Director John Brunelle responded to the mayor's admonition by saying "what we did purchase and put out there was well received. We have two styles of umbrellas that we put out there.”  He said the agency would look at buying more.