A passion for parks became a long, fulfilling career for Tammy de Weerd. She has had a measurably positive impact on her community as she completes her final term as the mayor of Meridian.
Throughout her 16 years in office, de Weerd has navigated rapid population growth and a desire for youth success in the area. Taking on both challenges in stride, she created programs like anti-drug coalitions and youth advisory councils to ensure her vision for the city was enacted smoothly.
Potentially most innovative for the city’s youth, however, was de Weerd’s initiative to create the state’s first all-inclusive playground for children and parents with disabilities. The initiative started after de Weerd met with a local mother, Angela Lindig, who shared her dream for her child to play on the same playground as able-bodied children.
“You learn so much about acceptance of differences through play,” de Weerd says. “You see, ‘Oh, we’re all just people.’ And our kids can learn that we all have commonalities.”
This step towards inclusivity is one that has been echoed across the state since, and her efforts toward youth more broadly were not dismissed. Other Idaho cities, such as Mountain Home, picked up her advisory council model to lift young voices in the community.
This marketplace of inclusive ideas is one aspect of de Weerd’s career that is admired by those who work with her.
“As much as anything, I have been impressed with Tammy’s ability to engage everyone in respectful dialogue and to bring diverse interest groups and people of differing opinions together for a common cause,” writes David Turnbull, CEO of the Brighton Corporation. “That, to me, is the hallmark of Tammy’s leadership.”
The growth of Meridian and its surrounding areas has been rapid, and de Weerd took on the task through rigorous planning and public-private partnerships that allowed the city’s transportation sector to thrive.
“The question of the day was not, ‘Will Meridian grow?’ but ‘How will Meridian grow?’” Turnbull writes. “Some people retreat when faced with change, some people go with the flow, and some take the reins and drive change forward in a positive direction. … Tammy recognized very early that the City of Meridian was ground zero for significant population growth.”
Despite the growth of the city and her list of responsibilities as mayor, de Weerd has always held a special place in her heart and her schedule for those closest to home: her family. Spending time at the donated and developed Kleiner Park and visiting the wine regions of the world are among her favorite moments, but getting outside remains at the top of her list.
“I think my lifestyle really frames what an Idahoan is,” de Weerd says. “I’m a fourth-generation Idahoan who enjoys the culture in Idaho of strong family values and enjoys the great outdoors.”
Regardless of where she spends her days — outdoors or in the office — de Weerd has proven dedication to family and community in Meridian and, especially, in her own home. Although her time as mayor may be coming to an end, de Weerd is not making the transition without gratefulness and fondness of the position.
“I’ve been very honored and fortunate to have lived my passion and served as mayor for the last 16 years, but now it really is time for my family,” de Weerd says.
Tammy de Weerd is the mayor of Meridian, and she has filled the position for 16 years. With passion for parks, youth and drug prevention, de Weerd has succeeded in creating a better city and community before she departs from the role in January.
Created a land use plan and interchange at Ten Mile
These urban developments are what de Weerd considers the “energy center of Idaho.”
Founded the Meridian Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council
She focused on creating a youth voice in Meridian, inviting a group of students from the city to make change in their community.
Developed public-private partnerships for roads
Transportation can be a challenge in growing cities, and she says these partnerships expedited the processes that came with roads.
Facilitated and grew the Village at Meridian
One of the state’s premier shopping complexes was erected in the city during her term as mayor, including a movie theater and an outdoor concert venue.
Kept Meridian debt-free through her term
While handling money is no easy feat, she managed to keep the city of Meridian’s cash on a tight budget, leaving the city debt-free.-