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Biz ‘Bites:’ Urban Land Institute report for Expo Idaho

Urban Land Institute report for Expo Idaho

Expo Idaho south entrance sign

Expo Idaho. Photo by Catie Clark

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) issued its final report on Expo Idaho on Dec. 7. The Ada County Commissioners asked the ULI in the spring of 2021 for its evaluation on what to do with the Expo Idaho site. The ULI panel presented its results to the commissioners on June 24 with the message: “You can have it all,” referring to the three scenarios recommended by a citizen advisory committee study in February 2021. The final ULI report captures all of the results that were presented in June. 

The county began an evaluation in January 2020 on the fate of Expo Idaho after the permanent closure of the horse racing facility on the site. The commissioners assembled the citizen advisory committee, which met for the next year. The 17-member committee suggested three non-exclusive scenarios for the future of the 247-acre property: agriculture and outdoor education use, a sports and recreation emphasis and a commerce-centered mixed-use town center. 

ULI’s message in June was that the site was large enough that all three recommended uses could be pursued. The report captures that key point on paper. ULI’s other main recommendations were: 

  • Make a development plan with a 50-year legacy in mind 
  • Start essential projects as soon as possible, especially the relocation of Lady Bird Park next to the Boise River 
  • Update the site to reflect the public consensus to preserve the Western Idaho Fair and increase public green space 
  • Keep the public involved with the decision-making process for the site 
  • Build public-private partnerships to develop funding 
  • Create a county entity for long-term oversight of the site to “ensure consistency amid changes in political leadership” 

IPUC approves settlement allowing SUEZ to acquire Eagle Water Company 

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission (IPUC) has approved a settlement agreement that spells out the terms allowing SUEZ Water Idaho to acquire the assets of Eagle Water Company. 

The commission found that the asset acquisition and settlement are in the public interest, and that customers of both utilities will benefit from the acquisition, according to a recent press release. For SUEZ customers, the acquisition allows SUEZ to prospectively avoid about $11.2 million in future water supply and other expenses. For Eagle Water customers, SUEZ represents a capable system operator with access to capital that can be invested in much-needed system upgrades. 

SUEZ said it plans to make $14.6 million in capital improvements in the Eagle Water system during the next five years. It will be entitled to an acquisition adjustment amount of nearly $10.5 million to be amortized over 40 years beginning at the implementation of rates in its next rate case. The approved settlement agreement also directs Eagle Water to refund approximately $592,020 to existing customers of the utility.  

The commission approved a seven-year phased increase in rates for existing Eagle Water customers. Beginning Jan. 1 existing Eagle Water customers’ rates will be set at 50% of SUEZ’s approved rates. Each year thereafter on Jan. 1, existing customers’ phase-in rates will increase by approximately 8.33% until their rates are 100% of SUEZ’s approved rates. 

Additional information on the approved settlement and the case: puc.idaho.gov/case/Details/3610. 

Advanced Sign breaks ground in Meridian 

Advanced Sign held a recent ceremony to celebrate the new 62,500-square-foot, two-story shell building with site improvements on 5 acres off Lanark Street in Meridian. The building will include insulated tilt-up concrete bearing walls and a conventional steel roof, according to the announcement. 

The facility will feature skylights, training and break rooms, sales and design offices and manufacturing spaces for CNC cutting, finishing, large format printing and signage assembly.  

The new building, slated for completion in July 2022, is being constructed to expand the company’s custom sign-making capabilities, increase efficiencies and manufacturing volume. 

Advanced Sign makes custom signs for local and national clientele. The sign shop has been in Boise for decades and also does business as Woodland Manufacturing and CraftCuts. 

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