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Live updates: Boise officials discuss library & stadium

We are at the Boise City Council meeting tonight – we’ll provide live updates on the discussion to open up feedback or put the library and stadium projects to a vote.

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6:00pm: The meeting is underway. It will take a bit to get to this agenda item.

  • 6:04pm: So far, council member Scot Ludwig is not here. He has been a staunch proponent of the Boise Sports Park.
  • 6:05pm: Mayor Bieter: “I thought it would be wise to put these items on the agenda for a discussion among council members. Part of the discussion might be about an advisory vote on one or more of the projects.”
  • 6:06pm: Bieter says advisory votes are limited to even-numbered years, and “obviously we are not in one.” He said he thought that could be something they could do, but says Ada County says it is not.
  • 6:07pm: Councilor McLean says this is “new in the last hour.” She seems surprised at the mayor’s preamble. McLean asks how the mayor learned this today. She asks how it impacts the process being undertaken by citizens.
  • 6:08pm: The mayor says it is not related to the process of initiatives.
  • 6:10pm: The mayor says “cities may not have the authority to do advisory votes.” Says the state consolidated elections to the county level. He said he felt that it was odd that counties have that authorities but cities may not.
  • 6:11pm: Elaine Clegg: “I came prepared tonight to, I hope, separate these two processes. I feel fundamentally that libraries are core functions of cities.” She then cites several things that show support for libraries, including a 2006 bond election, library card usage and other factors.
  • 6:14pm: Clegg: “On the other hand, stadiums aren’t core mission. A stadium I happen to think would be a really good addition to that part of town. But it’s not core mission to the city. But I’d be happy to ask if (voters) want to invest an amount of money into (that project)”
  • 6:16pm: “The stadium has never been properly before us. The developer was never before us with a plan we could consider. We’ve had bits and pieces of that, but never in complete detail. It’s been very difficult to get information out about the stadium”
  • 6:17pm: Clegg says she’d be in favor of putting the stadium up to a public vote, but not a library.
  • 6:18pm: Clegg says there should be public input before a final decision to move the cabin is made.
  • 6:19pm: TJ Thomson is worried that putting a library on the ballot would set a bad precedent and could lead to many city functions being on the ballot. Thomson said he was prepared to support putting the stadium on the ballot.
  • 6:20pm: Lisa Sánchez: “The library, I believe, is one of the places here in Boise that is the center for the most diverse interactions in our community, which I appreciate. It’s there to help people like me – I really struggled during the recession. I didn’t have a computer during the recession, so I had to go to the library. I didn’t just find resources, I found a refuge.”
  • 6:23pm: Sánchez says she still supports leaving the cabin place
  • 6:24pm: Sánchez says the stadium could be great “if it integrates and helps other” things in the community. She notes parks and rec job program – could be a way to give folks in that program ‘graduate’ to a good job at the stadium. She says she is not sure where she falls on the stadium yet.
  • 6:26pm: Bieter says redoing the main library has been on the books for decades. He said fundraising has been going quite well. He said the city “has been doing a good job getting the costs under control.”
  • 6:27pm: Bieter: “The sports park has also been a discussion for at least a dozen years. It was a priority earlier than even the expansion of the convention center.”
  • 6:28pm: Bieter said the baseball park was talking with CWI about integrating, but it did not come together. Said they are looking at another site.
  • 6:30pm: Councilor Holli Woodings says she was one of more recently elected council members. She said questions about the library and sports park kept coming up at candidate forums. Said she was elected because she supported a library and sports park.
  • 6:31pm: Woddings: “The belts around here are pretty tight. Everyone has run pretty lean around here so we have the capacity to do a library. It’s not like we have all this money laying around to build a library.”
  • 6:32pm: There are a few people in the crowd with “Let’s Vote” signs.
  • 6:33pm: Woodings says all options should be on the table about the Cabin.
  • 6:33pm: Woodings says a “stadium will be great.” It’s going to be a very accessible space that’s going to be a part of the community. Woodings said she was “bummed out” that it can’t be put up for an advisory vote.
  • 6:35pm: McLean said “no decision will be made on a stadium without public input and permits.”
  • 6:37pm: McLean says there have been changes on The Cabin site – and she is calling for another round of feedback.
  • 6:38pm: “I would say it’s been a conversation, but not all of us have been in it. It’s been a concept. I would also say that times have changed in the last seven years, we have a lot of pressing needs. There are things we need to understand. In my mind we can’t make a decision, and we can’t make a decision until we hear from the developer.”
  • 6:39pm: McLean she wants “documentation” on the advisory vote not being allowed – and says she wants to hear back from staff and not just “resign ourselves” to not being able to put it up for a vote.
  • 6:40pm: Thomson backs this up and says he wants more detail on the apparent lack of advisory vote being allowed.
  • 6:42pm: Councilor Clegg is calling for a public hearing “as soon as next week” on The Cabin. City staff said that could be possible by next week. McLean agrees with this.
  • 6:44pm: McLean calls for a public hearing on The Cabin next week.

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