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With library challenges mounting, CCDC pulls dollars from project due to ‘timing’

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Boise Library Expansion

With delays on construction of a new Boise Public Library, CCDC is making a key change.

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The agency’s board of commissioners voted unanimously Monday to redirect $2.6 million it earmarked for the Boise Public Library campus project.

“I’m sure you’re aware of the complications with the new main library project,” CCDC’s Ross Borden said. He did not refer directly to the new legislation but alluded to it twice. “To get these monies spent, we’d like to get these funds redirected to other River-Myrtle/Old Boise projects.”

The formal resolution CCDC adopted mentioned “uncertainties with the new main Library!’s (sic) development timeline,” but did not further detail those uncertainties.

The project faces several challenges, including a new law set to take effect this summer limiting the use of urban renewal funds in public projects without a public vote. It also faces a potential public vote after an citizen initiative process.

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After the publication of this story, officials with CCDC reached out to say the redirection of bond dollars was not related to HB 217. An agency leader said if the project gets off the ground, they would likely still participate with “allowable” expenses. They said the decision was about “timing, not HB217.”

[ACHD says it will fight new CCDC areas: says they are ‘gerrymandered,’ illegal]

Projects that use urban renewal funds in Idaho would require a vote of the public if more than 51% of the total dollars come from public funds of any type – except federal dollars. The law takes effect on July 1, 2019. Some expenses are allowed, mostly around infrastructure and parking – and are not counted toward the public vote threshold.

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Agency must spend money in next 13 months

The dollars are part of a bond the agency has in place with Zions Bank. The board voted last May to redirect the $2.6 million to the library project. Originally, the agency set aside the money to purchase a portion of the parking garage inside The Fowler. Los Angeles-based Local Construct opted to terminate the option based upon “strong market conditions.”

Now, CCDC will redirect the money toward various projects in its River/Myrtle-Old Boise district, including public infrastructure, streetscapes and crosswalks.

The bond agreement contains a provision that CCDC must spend the money “without delay” according to Borden. The deadline is June of next year.

The City of Boise has not yet outlined how it may change the funding formula for the project in light of the new Idaho law.

Correction: The bonds are held by Zions Bank, not Wells Fargo.

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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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