McLean asks for ‘autopsy’ on Boise’s ties to stadium project

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Mayor Lauren McLean said she directed staff to take a close look at any involvement the city had with a possible downtown stadium project.

“We’ve asked staff to really bring us any projects, partnerships, etc that were anyway related to the stadium,” she said Wednesday. “We feel like we need to do a financial autopsy. We need to ensure from our city side that there is no connection to a stadium.”

She said her priorities are affordable housing and transit. She previously said she favored taking $3 million earmarked for a stadium under former Mayor Dave Bieter and putting it toward affordable housing.

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The city council voted in 2018 to tie any potential sale of the Grove Plaza to a stadium project. McLean voted against the decision at the time, but says she sees no reason to undo the provision. She did say the plaza should stay in city hands.

Last fall, Boise voters overwhelmingly approved an initiative that would require the city to put any stadium project using public funds to a vote. Though stadium developer Greenstone Properties will not talk about the project, it recently listed for sale a parcel of land in Boise’s west end near a possible stadium site.

Stadium developers have looked at Expo Idaho in recent months. It had initially hoped to open the Boise Sports Park this spring.

“My focus has always been to see that this region thrives,” McLean said. “The Brookings Institute was clear, housing costs and cost of livings are where we need to focus.”

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[2019: McLean on Brookings report: Boise’s falling behind, what can be done to address its findings]

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