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Boise city councilor says proposed new site for The Cabin is too valuable, could be sold instead

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Boise City Councilor Scot Ludwig says a plan outlined by the City of Boise to move The Cabin Idaho to a site the city owns adjacent to Julia Davis Park isn’t the right move.

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The city is weighing whether it should move the historic structure from its current site along the Boise River to make way for a proposed rebuild of the Boise Public Library on its current campus on Capitol Blvd. The initial design by architect Moshe Safdie does not include keeping The Cabin in place.

“I don’t know if it should be moved or not,” Ludwig said. “I know if it is it should not be placed on that parcel that is a very valuable piece of property the city can monetize.”

The piece of land in question is home to storage and maintenance vehicles by Boise Parks and Recreation. It sits at the end of 5th Street at the edge of the park, just north of the Abe Lincoln Statue. It isn’t a part of the park itself.

The city proposes to place the Cabin on about a third of an acre according to Ludwig – part of a larger 2.3 acre parcel. 

Potential site of The Cabin. Courtesy City of Boise/BoiseDev illustration.
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“It’s worth $800,000 to $1-million to depending on how you value you the land right there,” he said. “That’s a big chunk of money the city loses the opportunity to monetize.”  

By Ludwig’s estimates, the full 2.3 acre site could be worth $6-million to $7-million.

“I’m a shareholder in the City of Boise, aka a taxpayer – and I see this parcel that has significant value that could bring economic value to the City,” he said.

“That’s a very valuable piece – and there has to be another place in that park that’s able to handle that cabin in a way that’s beneficial to the public. The Cabin is very important to the City, but I want to make a good business decision.”

City of Boise Director of Communications Mike Journee said a final decision on where the Cabin will end up has not been made.

“We are and have been looking at alternatives for the Cabin. These include the site we discussed at that time, keeping it onsite and other possibilities,” Journee said. “We expect to have a discussion with the city council around these possibilities in the coming weeks.”

The Cabin literary center is housed in a building near the current library built by the Civilian Conservation Corp in 1940 to mark 50 years of Idaho Statehood. It served as the offices of the State Forestry division until 1990. The City of Boise acquired it in 1992 and entered into a 30-year lease with The Cabin in 1996.

The current site of The Cabin off Capitol Blvd. south of the Boise Public Library. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

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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.

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