Ada County hopes to make a series of changes to Barber Park – including adding a large new parking area.
The county applied to itself earlier this month to make scores of upgrades and changes to the park it owns and operates in SE Boise along the Boise River. Though the park is surrounded on all sides by the City of Boise, it remains operated by the county.
The popular park is the common starting point for folks floating the river during warm summer days. Despite a limited number of parking spots in the park, hundreds of floaters park vehicles on the streets in the surrounding area. The Barber Valley Neighborhood Association, which represents neighbors on the north side of the river told its members the city would add resources to cut down on problems caused by floaters, and would add signs to at least one street prohibiting parking.
Parking lot in open field
The county’s application calls for a new 101-space parking lot in a grassy area along the south rim of the park, which backs up to the New York Canal. The grass is currently used for overflow parking during busy times.
“Due to the increased parking demand during float season at Barber park (sic), design revisions have been made to create a permanent parking lot on a portion of the open turf field located along the Southwest property line which is currently used as temporary parking,” Joe Breckon with Breckon Land Design wrote in an application letter. “This parking lot will contribute an additional 101 parking stalls to accommodate parking needs for floating season as well as use of the Event Center on site.”
The county applied to make the changes without a public hearing, instead asking itself to approve the changes at the staff level. It applied to modify a 2006 conditional permit it issued to build the Barber Park Events Center. That CUP called for a 64-space parking lot in roughly the same area the county never built.
The county also hopes to make a number of other changes in the park, including updating some pathways, replacing a fishing pier that washed away during flooding, and some landscaping changes.
The county notified neighbors in the immediate vicinity of the park on November 25th. A neighbor said they are engaging with the county to understand and provide feedback on the proposal. After a 15-day comment period that ends on Wednesday, December 9, the county’s planning and zoning staff could take action on the proposal.