At the 2023 State of Downtown event hosted by the Downtown Boise Association (DBA) at Treefort Music Hall on Wednesday, more than 400 attendees gathered to reflect on a year of achievements and progress, as well as the city’s ongoing developments.
The event featured remarks from Mayor Lauren McLean and guest speaker David Dixon, an Urban Places Fellow at Stantec, who addressed the significance of supporting density and walkability to enhance the vitality of growing, urban communities.
During her speech, McLean highlighted the growth, diversity and economic significance of downtown Boise, as well as the importance of community engagement and support for maintaining a thriving city center.
“The amazing businesses are really the backbone of our city and our downtown. Our downtown is a thriving, economic center for our region and state,” McLean said at the event. “In the last two years, 111 new businesses have opened downtown. That’s incredible.”
Jennifer Hensley, executive director of the DBA, shared key findings from the 2022 annual report, indicating that about 65% of downtown Boise businesses are fully staffed, with 90% reaching at least 80% staffing levels. She also revealed that 96% of downtown businesses are locally owned.
“It’s always important to shop local; it’s always important to make sure your dollars stay in our community and our downtown,” Hensley stated at the event. “In the upcoming holiday season, we need to make sure that we shop local and keep our dollars local.”
To wrap up the event, Downtown Boise Foundation, a nonprofit known for its involvement in local programs and events often in collaboration with the DBA, officially introduced “Glide on Grove,” slated to open during the Thanksgiving weekend. Additionally, the Boise Parks and Recreation Department’s Donald Porter received the 2023 “Downtowner of the Year” award.