We are hosting a potluck at Fairview Park this Tuesday evening at 6pm! Please bring a dish and/or a donation for our new swing if you can. The City of Boise has given us almost $50,000 in a grant to install 2 Biggo swings and provide limited electricity access in Fairview Park. Thanks to a generous $250 matching grant from Big Brothers and Big Sisters and Trademark Church, we just need to raise $250. Any donation ($5, 10, 20, etc) helps. Thank you!
A special VPNA meeting will take place Monday, July 25 at 6:30 pm at Davis Park Apartments multi-purpose room. Board members will discuss the VPNA’s input to the Planning and Zoning meeting regarding a proposed 50-unit development on Moore St.
Robert Reed from Boise City/Ada County Housing Authority, the organization proposing the development, will present at the beginning of the meeting.
Please note the new location. This is our normal board meeting location.
There is a free programming opportunity for VPNA middle school students this summer. Participants will learn how to control satellites aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Some code will actually be tested on the ISS! The program is offered through Idaho Afterschool Network, NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and NeighborWorks Boise. It runs July 5 – August 5 at Davis Park Apartments. Please contact Danielle Falck, email@example.com if you are interested and spread the word to your neighbors!
Please take a moment to let ACHD know whether you support adding bike lanes to 23rd between State and Main streets, which will require removing parking on one side of the street. You’ll have an opportunity to add general comments so you can let them know you support their efforts to increase pedestrian and bicycle safety infrastructure in our neighborhood. Complete the ACHD survey at bit.ly/23Street before the June 29 deadline. The survey is just 2 short questions. Thanks!
Do you have a great idea for a project in the VPNA? Every year the City of Boise gives out grants for hundreds of thousands of dollars to neighborhood associations for a variety of neighborhood improvement projects. Last year the VPNA was awarded 2 grants, one for neighborhood outreach that funds our newsletter, and another large grant to put swings and limited electricity access in Fairview Park. We are currently looking for ideas and volunteers to apply for grants again in the next few months. What would you like to see in your neighborhood? Some ideas we are currently thinking about are: new playground equipment for Whittier elementary, adding/improving street lights, a bicycle maintenance station, an accessible path around a pond, or West End signs.
Did you get yours? We sent these out to every home in the VPNA. It was a bit delayed but hopefully made it in time for our annual meeting today!
Here’s the link: VPNA Spring 2016 Newsletter
Inside you’ll find a few articles written by our VPNA board. There’s more info on the annual meeting, updates on what we’ve done in the last year, an article on Esther Simplot Park, information on changes to the State St and Veterans Parkway intersection, and pictures!
We’ll see you all tonight at 6:30 pm at Whittier Elementary.
Please join us for our Annual Meeting, on Monday, April 18th at 6:30-8:00 PM at Whittier Elementary! The school is located at 29th and Idaho Streets. Come meet your neighbors, and learn about what is happening in the neighborhood.
Board elections will take place at the meeting
We are seeking new volunteers to be on our board. The board meets just once a month (except December) for 90 minutes. The open positions are:
Treasurer – Keeper of VPNA finances, including tracking incoming grant money and our own general bank account, plus submission of annual tax records. We have few transactions each year.
Secretary – The official note taker of the board meetings.
Sub-neighborhood rep – Residents of Whittier Place, Quail Glen, Taft Manor, and Independence Park, we need eyes and ears for your area! (See the map.) As a rep, you would come to our meetings, provide input, and participate in decision-making.
We look forward to seeing you there!
You’ve probably heard that 14 of our neighbors have lost their homes because of an accidental fire a few nights ago. Thank you to all those who have already helped in one way or another. Here are a few ways you can help out if you have not already:
– Donations of gift cards (WalMart, Payless Shoes, Target, WinCo, Ross, & Grocery Outlet) can be given to Lowell Elementary to help affected families
– Villanueva families’ gofundme page
– Gutierrez family’s gofundme page
– Information on available rental units, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on what happened, here is the KTVB story.
by Rae Brooks, VPNA board member
BOISE’S WEST END – Here’s what we all want to know: Esther Simplot Park will probably not open until late summer next year. And access to the Greenbelt from the western end of Pleasanton Avenue will likely also remain closed until the park opens.
Here’s why: The city of Boise’s original plan was to complete the 55-acre park on the east side of the Boise River by late spring 2016. But earlier this year, while digging the new park’s largest pond, workers discovered industrial waste, setting construction back about two months while armies of trucks carried off petroleum-laced soil and other debris.
The discovery meant that planting of the park landscape will likely be delayed until early spring, even though park builders McMillen Jacobs Associates are trying to make up lost time. The city originally planned for planting to be completed this fall. The plants will need several weeks, if not months, to establish themselves before the onslaught of visitors. So a spring planting means the park likely won’t officially open until late summer.
Landscape architect Wendy Larimore, the city’s park development coordinator, knows there will be tremendous pressure to open the new park before the plants are fully established. And, she asks, how do you keep people out?
“It’s really hard to look at a park that looks ready, and you still have it fenced off,” she said.
The city would like to provide access to the Greenbelt from Pleasanton before the new park opens, but its design makes that difficult. The paved path that ran along the northern shore of Quinn’s Pond to the Greenbelt has been removed. It will be replaced by a curved road with a sidewalk that would be difficult to close off from the rest of the park.
The city did test the soil on the site before construction began on Feb. 23, but the contaminated fill showed up at 15 feet, just below its deepest tests. The discovery put the park’s design at risk; removing the contaminated soil would cost millions of dollars.
“It was kind of touch and go,” said Larimore, who visits the site every day. “We thought we might have to do some redesign.”
But the city came up with $4 million for the cleanup, while the Simplot family foundation, which was already footing the entire construction bill for the park, added another $1.5 million. Since the spring, more than 100,000 cubic yards of contaminated fill and debris have been removed from the site, apparently once used as an industrial landfill.
That’s more than 5,000 truckloads. And that’s why anyone who has been keeping an eye on the fenced-off site has seen constantly shifting mountains of dirt, as the contaminated fill was dug out and piled up for loading onto trucks.
Now, finally, features of the long-anticipated park, which the Simplots wanted to harken back to an old-fashioned swimming hole, are finally taking shape.
A fishing dock for the new Esther’s Pond, twice the size of Quinn’s Pond, has been completed. Friendship Island — a new island in Esther’s Pond — is also finished. Construction of a bridge to the island is underway and a boardwalk along the pond’s east side is nearly done. Excavation of a meandering channel to connect the two ponds is also close to completion. Work has started on the park’s irrigation system, and Quinn’s Pond has been extended from its northern shore in preparation for a sandy beach. Early work has started on a playground.
Larimore estimates that 20 percent of the park has been completed. Restrooms and shelters will be built over the winter. The paved road will be added in the spring. For Larimore, that’s a luxurious way to build a park.
“Usually,” she says, “we just start out with turf and trees. You add restrooms and shelters as the money becomes available — and it might take 20 years.”
So stay patient. The city’s master plan for the site originally called for eight soccer fields. Yes, those might have already been finished. But put up with the inconvenience awhile longer and Boise’s west end neighborhood will end up with a unique multi-million-dollar turnkey park, likely destined to become one of the area’s defining features.