In 1995, the City of Boise acquired a large site for a park in Boise’s Surprise Valley. Brent Coles was mayor, the Boise River Festival was the rage, and… most of the things on this cartoon map still existed.
Now, more than 25 years later, work started to bring some life to the park site.
Crews will green up six acres of the site with grass, including a large play field.
The city plans a wide variety of other features, including an off-leash dog park, a skate plaza, restrooms, bocce ball courts, a playground, a misting water feature, disc golf course and more. Much of the site will remain in the natural sagebrush state, with walking paths, a firewise garden, a pollinator garden and additional features.
The dog park will even include a “shy dog area”
The park will include a small parking area, and also share parking with a church in the area. Trails will connect it to Columbia Village, Homestead Rim, Surprise Valley, and the Oregon Trail Reserve.
Initially, the City of Boise was going to just “green up” the park and delay the installation of amenities. But with construction costs on the rise, the city changed course.
“It will all happen at once – everything including the ammentieis will be built out this summer,” Boise Parks and Recreation spokesperson Bonnie Shelton said. “We moved it up just to get everything done and save on building costs.”
Work started in January, and should finish this summer.
At just about 25 acres, the park site compares in size to Kristin Armstrong Municipal Park.
Beth and Bruce Bowler sold the park land to the city. Bowler died in 2002 at age 91. He helped write the initiative in 1939 that established the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. A noted conservationist, Bowler helped protect the Hells Canyon area from dams, the White Cloud Mountains from mining activity, and worked on protection of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.
“He was the wellspring of the whole conservation movement in Idaho,” friend Ernie Day told the Associated Press of Bowler in 2002. (Day is my grand uncle and passed away in 2008.)
Beth Bowler, a University of Idaho grad, was active in Idaho politics and a sustaining member of the Junior League. The pair were married for 62 years. Beth died in 2008.
Correction: Bowler was a noted conservationist. An earlier version of this story identified him as a noted conversationalist (which also may have been true).