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Revitalizing a part of Boise that needs a little love

Jennifer Gonzalez

Covering construction, real estate, and development really is a perfect fit for me. I say that, because years before I started working at the Idaho Business Review, I was interested in development and revitalization in the various cities I have lived in.

For instance, I have always wondered why, with such an awesome downtown core, Boise leaders were seemingly ignoring the rundown, abandoned, and in my opinion, blighted area in and around 30th, Main and Fairview streets. I couldn’t understand why in the years I have lived here, the area was falling into a further depressed state with empty car lots and a slew of abandoned or vacant buildings.

Little did I know, but leaders have been working since 2006 to create a 30th Street Area Master Plan that has been discussed, revised, updated, and again discussed, that addresses every facet of how the area could be revitalized, spurring new development opportunities.

Hearing and learning more about all the possibilities that redevelopment could offer in that corridor was music to my ears during a recent chat with Boise’s Planning Director Hal Simmons, Economic Development Director John Brunelle and Mayor’s Office Spokesman Adam Park.

I think reviving this part of town (thoughtfully) is essential and will again prove that Boise knows how to revitalize “disinvested” areas, as Park referred to this part of the city. Creating a sustainable, walk able community, with some blocksdesigned to look like Hyde Park or Bown Crossing, as Simmons pointed out, is just another example of smart planning. I am pro-development, but at the same time, I don’t want random buildings slapped together without any cohesive design element. I encourage you to take a look at the master plan draft and see for yourself.

For a closer look at how the 30th Street area will be revived, transforming the way people live, work, and recreate around this part of Boise, check out the next Idaho Business Review.


Jennifer Gonzalez writes about construction in the Idaho Construction Review, a monthly news magazine produced by the Idaho Business Review.

About Jennifer Gonzalez

Jennifer Gonzalez covers construction, real estate and development news. Contact her at jennifer.gonzalez@idahobusinessreview.com or 208.639.3515.


  1. All these plans are great, but what about our ideological & dimwitted Legislature’s continued year-after-year attempts to gut urban renewal districts? You just can’t ignore this inconvenient fact, it affects everything. And it goes hand in hand with their profoundly atavistic view that Idaho towns and cities, unlike EVERY OTHER WESTERN STATE, cannot be trusted with constitutional home-rule powers.

    Your publication is shortly to have some serious competition; the IBR had better start producing something with some critical content, it’s a real opportunity to be distinctive. If I want to read lame, puff pieces on “the right people” from Dan Popkey’s very, very limited Idaho rolodex, I’d subscribe to that Statesman rag. But currently, you’re not showing anything IBR.

  2. Thanks for checking the 30th Street Plan out Jennifer. Three of the keys to success in sustainable development of this area will be the new, yet to be named boulevard and the completion of the Esther Simplot Park. The third is the Boise River Recreation Park. Allot of work has already been completed or is in process including changes to Quinn’s Pond, a new pedestrian and bike bridge and the establishment of the first new business in the neighborhood North of Fairview in the heart of the Veteran’s Parkway Neighborhood, Idaho River Sports.

    Jo and Stan of Idaho River Sports shared a vision that started over 10 years ago. Indeed, as far back as 1968, this area was been seen by the City as the best place on the Boise River for park and watershed expansion. Establishing a paddling venue was a key step in helping to revive the area and establishing a commercial presence helped get the 30th Street Plan energized.

    Mayor Bieter and Boise Parks and Rec. have fully supported the project from the beginning. The Boise River Recreation Park is expected to create tourism revenues of over $4 Million annually. It is a public/private partnership between citizens and the City. The Boise River Recreation Park will provide new opportunities for birders, fishing, walking, paddling and it will connect Bernadine Quinn, Esther Simplot and Veterans Park creating an urban recreation environment that will be the largest of its kind anywhere.

    For more about the Boise River Recreation Park visit http://www.boiseriverpark.com and support this project. A great way to build Boise’s economic and environmental legacy For more about Idaho River Sports, which is celebrating 25 years throughout the 2011/2012 seasons, visit http://www.idahoriversports.com.