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Boise looks to buy large piece of foothills land from governor’s family with levy funding

ICCU Idaho

The City of Boise said Monday it hopes to buy about half a square mile of land in the Boise foothills, using dollars from the 2015 foothills levy fund.

“These 325 acres will help us with connectivity so that we can provide our residents additional recreational opportunities as well as habitat for generations to come,” Boise Mayor Lauren McLean said in announcing the purchase doing a news conference Monday. “People from all over the Treasure Valley come to enjoy our open space.”

The parcels sit off of Seamans Gulch Rd. in Ada County.

Highland Livestock and Land Co. currently own the land, according to Ada County property records. Adam and Dave Little control the company, according to State of Idaho business records. Adam and Dave are the sons of governor Brad Little. Gov. Little formally left the business in September of 2016.

The city said it would pay the Littles $1.2 million for the land, which Boise Parks & Recreation director Doug Holloway said was less than they could have otherwise recieved for the land.

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“The Littles could have sold their property for more than what they could have sold the property to the city for,” he said. “We will be great stewards. They weren’t looking to maximize the per acre value they could have gotten on the open market.”

Importance of open space

Courtesy City of Boise

McLean said now more than ever, public open space is important.

“We all are outside finding a place of rest and peace to get the tough times,” she said. “It’s the cheapest way we can decompress.”

Holloway said the city has spent about $10.4 million with funding from two open space levies in recent decades – but said the total value of the land it acquired is worth more than $50 million.

The Land Trust of the Treasure Valley helped put together the deal. The Boise City Council will consider the purchase during its meeting on July 21.

Correction: An earlier version of this story had an incorrect amount for the purchase price.

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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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