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‘Boise, in case you haven’t heard, is booming’: Today Show highlights local growth, challenges

“A lot of people looked at their lives and said ‘If I’m going to live someplace, why not live someplace I’ve always wanted to live, or go somewhere more affordable, or go somewhere with more recreational opportunities?’ Well the answer for many many people, is Idaho.”

That’s the intro to a piece that aired on NBC’s Today Show this week. Harry Smith tee’d up a story on a couple that just moved to a brand new home in a subdivision “on the outskirts of Boise.”

Lori Crowell and Mark Jenkins just moved to the area, into a newly-built home.

“It’s got the quality of life we had in Seattle, but on a smaller scale,” Crowell said.

“Boise, in case you haven’t heard, is booming,” Smith said under an upbeat guitar bed and sounds of construction equipment.

Smith told the Today Show audience that Idaho is the nation’s fastest-growing state, and notes that real estate values in Boise went up 32% in the past year.

[‘Wow… is something going on with the real estate!:’ National TV lens focuses on Boise]

Challenges with the boom

But the piece also talked about some of the concerns that come along with growth.

“Everyone that comes from somewhere else always says ‘boy-zee.’ They act like there’s a z. There’s no z. It’s boy-see,” Carrie Despot said with a BOY-SEE shirt on. “What’s changed for me, is growing up here, I’d look at these foothills. We no longer get to see these foothills. We see houses.”

And, beyond concerns over the pronunciation of the city or changes to the landscape, Today talked about increasing pressure on rents and housing availability.

“Demand for rental assistance for tenants has just skyrocketed,” Ali Rabe of Jesse Tree said. “Over the last year we’ve seen a lot more people moving into hotels, their car, couch-surfing and living right on the line from going to a shelter.”

Boise Mayor Lauren McLean talked to Smith about the challenges of “keeping Boise, Boise,” at a vantage point overlooking the city from the Boise Depot.

“We recognize the magic of this community that we live in,” McLean said. “We’ve welcomed each other for years. We recognize that there are challenges that come with it, but it gives us a focus.”

[Is Boise like Austin 20 years ago? Lessons from Texas’ capital city provide clues to Boise’s possible future]

‘Sorry about that’

Smith wrapped up the story back with Crowell and Jenkins. And seemed self-aware of the role national promotion like the Today Show story plays in the population influx.

“We have friends of ours… who have said ‘welcome to Boise. Don’t tell anyone else,’ and it’s like… the secret’s out,” Jenkins said.

“Sorry about that,” Smith said to laughs.

He closed by telling the anchors about how Boise reminds him of Denver 50 years ago.

“You have to sympathize with the locals. Like ‘how do we keep this from exploding into a thing where we want to leave.’ It’s really quite something,” he said.

Third Hour Today anchor Sheinelle Jones said Smith’s story had an effect on her.

“I have to admit. I’ve never been to Idaho. And those pictures look absolutely beautiful, so I see why people (are moving there),” she said.

Watch the story, below:

Don Day - BoiseDev editor
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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