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Forecast for new Downtown Boise park: foggy; new ‘iconic’ project on the way

The City of Boise is working on plans for a new urban Downtown Boise park next to the forthcoming 11th and Idaho building. The park will be located at the corner of 11th St. and Bannock St. on a current surface parking lot,

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A ‘diagonal’ layout will break up the downtown street grid, and feature green space, art, mature trees and another unique feature: fog.

“We really sought impact from the public on this,” Boise Parks superintendent Jennifer Tomlinson said. “We looked at interactivity and other options, and then we threw in fog – and fog won.”

Fog in the oasis

A fog vendor – yes, that’s a thing – set up a demonstration in Cecil D. Andrus park earlier this year that made staffers comfortable moving forward.

[‘Impressive’ new addition to Boise skyline about to take off]

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The overall theme of the project is “Oasis,” with an emphasis on urban cooling.

“This would present a cooling respite in Downtown Boise,” Karl LeClair with Boise’s Arts & History Department said. “It represents the wooded geographic of the Treasure Valley.”

The city also plans a large, ‘iconic’ art piece in the park. The budget ranges from $150,000 to $200,000.

“It should give us enough budget for a unique, engaging iconic piece for this part of downtown,” LeClair said. “We anticipate having a couple concepts developed that we can shop out to the public.”

Large, mature trees are planned for the project site which should build a shaded canopy quickly.

The developer of the new 11th and Idaho project will continue to own the park land, under a long-term license with the City of Boise. Scott Schoenherr with Rafanelli and Nahas said the park is a key feature for his project.

“Open space is important to Boise. If you are going to add density it really needs some green space and things to ground it,” he said. “When it comes down to nuts and bolts, property on a park is worth more than not on a park. The most expensive real estate in New York City is along Central Park.”

Parks officials say they plan another public engagement opportunity soon. The park will open near the building’s completion in late 2020.

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