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Kathryn Albertson Park to get makeover as it marks 30th anniversary

Regence Blue Shield of Idaho

Another high-profile Boise park will get a makeover.

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Kathryn Albertson Park appears much as it did at opening in 1989. Filled with wildlife habitat and walking paths, the park was donated to the city by Joe and Kathryn Albertson. The Albertson family is the namesake of the Albertsons chain of grocery stores, still headquartered in Boise.

The City of Boise plans a large number of changes and tweaks to the park. A building permit for $1.4 million will kick off work in the park. The JA & Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation is donating $2.5 million for the effort.

Themed areas

The park will see four themed areas, with signage, landscaping and navigation elements to support them.

[Proposal would bring riverfront condos next to Kathryn Albertson Park]

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Here’s how the master plan describes the themes: “The interpretive program is organized (into) four main groupings as a result of stakeholder feedback. The wildlife and park stories that will be told on the interpretive signage panels will relate to the immediate context, per the zones outlined…”

The park will be themed in four zones. Pink is the Pollinator Theme, Blue is Riparian Theme, Orange is Mammal/Food Web Theme and the red circle denotes the Entry Plaza.
  • The Pollinator Theme area will feature habitat for monarch butterflies, plus native meadow plantings and a variety of pollinator species. The area will run along American Blvd. and the northern stretch of the park near the Boise River.
  • The Riparian Theme section provides habitat for a variety of waterbirds, as well as amphibians and reptiles. This section includes the majority of the middle of the park, including the existing pond areas, as well as Rookery and Eerie shelter areas.
  • The Mammal/Food Web Theme provides space for large mammal habitat and provides information on mammal’s role in the food web. This section of the park is slated along the southwest of the park, at the base of the Boise Bench.
  • The Entry Plaza will get an upgrade and expansion. It will include information outlining the story of the park, and provide orientation for visitors.

Honoring history

Albertson Foundation board chair Jamie Scott told Idaho Matters last year that the nearly 30-year-old signs in the park are faded – and some areas never got signage.

“We have so many residents in Boise that you forget that that was a wide-open space without any greenery or any vegetation,” Scott said. “You go back and look at photographs and it’s so different.”

Scott said the former horse pasture nearly became an office park. But Joe Albertson stepped in to buy the land and donate it to the city.

Historic features in the park, like the red tile roof from the original Albertsons store in Boise and old trestle bridges donated by Idaho Power, will get signage.

[Waves, whitewater & walkways highlight big park expansion with something for everyone – see the first tour]

New boardwalk and more

A new boardwalk will open up a large new section of the park’s southern corner. The wooden walkway meanders through all three major theme areas and will bring new overlooks onto the park’s ponds.

New pond decks will go in on the boardwalk area, as well as throughout the park. They will allow visitors to get a better, up-close look at the ponds. New pathways made of decomposed granite will provide access to the Boise River, which is currently shrouded behind a tree and brush canopy.

Some of the park’s fixtures will be removed or replaced. Current trash cans will be pulled out and replaced by waste bins for trash, recycling and compostable materials. New benches are slated to be placed throughout the park.

Existing grassy areas will be converted to new varieties or replaced with meadow plantings to help cut down on the park’s goose population.

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