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Coming to a park near you: Boise budgets park upgrades for the next year

During its budget workshop late last month, the Boise City Council heard details on a number of upgrades and changes for park facilities across the city

Many of the upgrades will boost access for Boiseans who benefit from provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Bowler Park

Bowler Park is a large, undeveloped site in Boise’s Surprise Valley that is currently covered in sagebrush. The city acquired the park nearly 25 years ago, and will finally begin development of the park if the city council signs off on it.

The park project has been on the city’s radar since at least 2012 in the capital improvement plan – but deferred until “after 2019.”

The first step is a $1 million project to “green up” the park site – essentially replacing the sagebrush with grass. The city says future funds for typical park amenities will be needed and targets sometime after 2024. A master plan for the park has not yet been developed.

Work crews should wrap this project by fall of 2020

Molenaar Park

The city also added the land for Molenaar Park to its inventory about 25 years ago. In 2017, it opened the park after a greenup – with features like a pond, walking paths and a parking lot.

In the next budget year, the city will spend $400,000 to add a dog off-leash area and a playground to the 20-acre site.

Crews should complete this work next spring.

Stewart Gulch Park

The city will chip away at its 1998 master plan for the park. Next year, the city plans to spend $270,000 to add trees, grass and a pathway. The park already has a playground and parking lot. Parks & Rec targets completion of the project for next spring.

New playgrounds, ADA upgrades

The City of Boise will spend $2.57 million on work related to the Americans With Disabilities Act in the next fiscal year.

The biggest piece will be changes, upgrades or replacement of playgrounds at park sites around the city.

Six playgrounds will replace “fall material” under play structures. Typically that material consisted of sand or wood chips or rock chips to cushion a fall. But, the city notes that those materials “create uneven terrain and are not easily accessible for those with mobility impairments.”

The playgrounds will have a new rubber surface added below the equipment, which is already ADA-compliant:

  • Ann Morrison Park
  • Camel’s Back Park
  • Castle Hills Park
  • Fairview Park
  • Morris Hill Park
  • Simplot Sports Complex (this park is outside Boise’s city limits and owned by Ada County, but maintained by the City of Boise under an agreement)

The rubber surface retrofits will cost $764,090.

Three playgrounds will be replaced with new equipment and the rubber surfaces.

  • Hobble Creek Park
  • Cassia Park
  • Phillippi Park

These upgrades will cost a total of $1.1 million.

In addition to the new playground at Molenaar Park, mentioned above, Cottonwood Park will add a new playground, expected to cost $315,000.

Projects to study accesibility at Boise City Hall, City Hall West and each of the library branches are set for 2020 and 2021.

“I want to comment non how great it is to see the focus on ADA – not just for our kids but here at city hall and at city hall west,” council memebr Holli Woodings said. “We can’t be the most livable city if we’re not livable for all of our residents. I’m happy to see this making it into our budget this year.”

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