Sue Howell Park
Sue Howell Park rendering via Stack Rock Group

Sue Howell Park, which BoiseDev first revealed was in the works in 2017, is moving closer to reality. It will add to Boise’s Ribbon of Jewels, parks named for prominent women in the community.

The park will be built on a 16-acre tract of land along Warms Springs Avenue near Idaho Highway 21. The City of Boise had to annex the land and several other parcels to accept the donation.

The park site is currently owned by SHP, LLC – which is controlled by Aaron Howell, Sue’s husband. 

Sue Howell Park
Aaron Howell, Sue Howell, Mayor Dave Bieter and Doug Holloway unveil a rendering of the park during a news conference Wednesday. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

“I’m proud to be donating this park will honor my beautiful wife Sue,” Howell said. “This park will encompass two of Sue’s loves – fitness and learning. It will have many features, including a Lady Idaho statue, fitness court and other fitness nodes, and an autumn blaze maple path. The autumn blaze is my wife’s favorite tree.”

Howells’ Boise legacy

Aaron & Sue founded Northwest Lineman College in 1993, which has now expanded to three additional states.

Howell noted that public input will be key to development of the park.

[Project Tracker: Sue Howell Park]

“We will also be looking for the financial support of companies, foundations and individuals whose goals along with the vision of this park,” Howell said.

“Signature sites from around the state will be featured in the park,” Boise Mayor Dave Bieter said. “With so many newcomers, that’s a wonderful thing.”

“It will have a pond – we’re calling it ‘Pond Oreille,’ and it will be in the shape of Lake Pend Oreille in north Idaho,” Howell said. “The Lady Idaho statue will pay tribute to the Idaho State Flag.”

[October 2017: Boise could see new riverside park if the “ifs” can be worked out]

“We have a strong tradition of giving for park sites and development,”  Bieter said. “It’s just such a great day when you see that tradition continue – the Davis Family, the Morrison Family, the Albertson family – and the Howells belong in that company. It represents the best of what this city means.”

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The park is the 11th in the Ribbon of Jewels.

“This is one of the coolest things that can happen when someone says they want to do something awesome for the city,” Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway said.

Full buildout of the park will take several years, dependent on funding. The donation will be considered by the Boise City Council during its December 18th meeting.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I appreciate the donation. I do, however, question whether so much grass, parking, “fitness” equipment, and a proprietary hybrid non-native tree path is the best use for some of the last black cottonwood habitat in Boise. This development will sever the important wildlife link between Hammer Flat and Barber Pool.

  2. I disagree with Josh Johnson. The area is currently mostly rock and has recently turned into an ATV and dirt bike hangout. This will be much better.

  3. A land donation is very generous but the impact on the City monies then kicks in to develop and maintain another park. The City has many other undeveloped land parcels designated as future parks of all different sizes throughout the City, of which some have been waiting to be completed for decades. Before any tax payer monies are allocated to this wholly new land parcel, the existing undeveloped parks should be completed in order for tax payer funded municipal services to be fair and equitably distributed, so that all Boise citizens have convenient access to this “most livable city in the country” element. The one exception would be the use of specific park impact fees collected directly from the southeast impact fee area.

  4. If someone “donates” a park, should they have to cover the related costs associated with title and closing, rather than the citizen taxpayers, since the donor will receive a tax deduction for this donation? The citizens did not solicit this donation so why should we pay the costs?

    From the 12-18-18 Interim Budget Changes:
    3. Parks & Recreation (Capital Fund) – Sue Howell Land Donation: $4,000 (one-time)
    Parks & Recreation requests approval for a $4,000 capital project and its corresponding expense appropriation for title and closing costs associated with the Sue Howell land donation, located at Warm Springs Avenue and Highway 21. The donation agreement outlining the Howell’s intent to donate approximately 8 acres of undeveloped land to the City of Boise will be presented to Council on December 18, 2018. This property will be developed as a public park. The proposed funding would come from the Capital Fund fund balance.

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