Locally owned local news. We put readers first.

With concerns about play space, new apartments approved on Boise Bench

A Central Bench apartment complex is about to get more crowded.

Boise City Council approved rezoning for 12 new townhomes to be added to an existing development at 5454 W. Grover Street, near Phillippi Street. The townhomes will be added to the open spaces on the lot around the existing, 1970s era fourplexes. 

Neighbors looking out for refugee children

Amenities for the project include a new playground, a BBQ pavilion for residents to gather, new sidewalks and an easement along the northern edge of the property near the Ridenbaugh Canal for the city to use in the future to build a multi-use pathway. The nearby bus stop will also be improved.

[The Crescent closes – but apartments & two new restaurants on the way]

Two residents testified during the hearing and expressed concern for the children who live in the complex’s existing units. Susan Busche, who lives across the street, said the majority of the residents of the complex are refugees and they are the best neighbors she’s had in decades. 

A map of the project. Courtesy of the City of Boise

Busche said the children regularly come by her house to ask if they can pick apples from her trees and she loves listening to them play soccer for hours on the open patch of grass where the townhomes are proposed to be built. She said the townhomes at the back of the property were fine, but she hoped the city would find a way to keep enough open space for the children to continue playing.

“We do infill, infill, infill and we forget kids need to step out their front door and play,” she said.

[Developer proposes to build townhomes on site of single-family Bench homes]

Can you add housing and a play area?

Jason Boal, another neighbor who separately works as a planner with Ada County, asked the council to consider a minor redesign of the project to relocate the proposed BBQ area to leave more room for open space to allow the children room to continue playing. 

The project was approved unanimously, but prior to the vote City Council President Elaine Clegg asked the developer to look into finalizing the design with an open play area for children in mind. It will go through Design Review in the coming weeks.

“You already have an approved (planned unit development), we’re not here to question that, but as you go through design review if you could keep those comments in mind and make sure there are some uninterrupted grass somewhere,” she said. “If these kids are using it quite a bit, it would probably be a great amenity for them.”

Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev senior reporter
Margaret Carmel is a BoiseDev reporter focused on the City of Boise, housing, homelessness and growth. Contact her at [email protected] or by phone at (757)705-8066.

Related stories