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Recreation? Idahoans are making it happen

anne-wallace-allen-headshotWhen we decided to dedicate an issue of Square Feet to recreation spaces in Idaho, we had no idea how difficult it would be to choose from all of the action-oriented projects that are recently completed, planned, or underway.

square-feet-april-commentary-blurbOutdoor recreation is seriously important to Idahoans, and that shows in the variety of structures that are crafted to help locals and visitors find their bliss, be it on the slopes, on a racetrack, or standing in a river.

In the April 20 issue of Square Feet, we take a look at a range of projects aimed at helping Idahoans to have fun and stay active. In the Treasure Valley, a good example of that is the wide-ranging collaboration between the Treasure Valley Family YMCA, St. Luke’s Health System, and Meridian Parks & Recreation, to create a place called The Hill. IBR staff writer Teya Vitu outlines how a 2014 land donation has evolved into a public space that will include an elementary school building, a library, two gyms, a park, and medical space for teaching healthy lifelong behavior.

In rural Valley County, recreation construction means a grassroots effort to create more bicycling opportunities in one of the state’s most beautiful regions. IBR staff writer Sharon Fisher talks with bike enthusiasts and local economic development officials about their plans for a trail system on the valley floor, and about developing an adventure biking platform in the rural county as well.

For some people, recreation means fishing in your very own trout stream with no possibility of running into other anglers. For a story about Idaho’s high-end recreational ranches, I talked to some real estate agents about multi-million-dollar ranch properties around the state.

Roaring Springs, Pinz and Wahooz, a large entertainment complex in Meridian, is looking at a proposal to add a 50,000-square-foot indoor water park and two hotels. And in Cascade, where Kelly’s Whitewater Park is drawing kayakers and spectators, the recreation district is pondering how to add more options in the next few years, including a BMX track, a basketball court that would be converted to an ice-skating rink in winter, tennis courts, and pickleball.

There are too many interesting recreation projects underway right now to fit in one issue. In later publications, we’ll write about exciting developments like the new 150,000-square-foot library planned for Boise (yes, a library. Reading counts as recreation). The library will be designed by architect Moshe Sadie and will include public events space and 20,000 square feet to house Boise’s Arts and History Department. And then there’s that roller-skating rink underway in a former bowling alley west of downtown. The Idaho State Historical Museum is slated to open in August. The recently completed Portneuf Wellness Complex in Pocatello offers six full size multi-use sports fields, two basketball courts, a lake, a volleyball pit, a playground and a mountain bike park. Oh – and an ampitheater.

Meanwhile, several projects we cover in this issue are still evolving, like the downtown Boise baseball and soccer stadium, and efforts to create more youth soccer fields.

However you like to relax, refresh your mind, and stay active, there’s probably someone working on a way for you to do it. Stay tuned to the IBR, and we’ll tell you all about it.

About Anne Wallace Allen

Anne Wallace Allen is the editor of the Idaho Business Review.