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Getting Smarter Cheaper

It may not have blue turf, but CWI is moving to Boise along with about every other institution of higher learning. The school is growing faster than a seal pup and the trustees voted to buy the old Bob Rice Ford land along the Boise River at Main Street.

The financing for construction will require approval of two-thirds of voters, but given the success of the school we see it as a good bet to pass. The secret will be a straight forward proposal asking permission to sell bonds.

Here is the release from College of Western Idaho:

Today, College of Western Idaho (CWI) Board of Trustees approved entering into an agreement to purchase approximately 10 acres of land at 3150 W. Main St. which is located at the intersection of Main and Whitewater Park Blvd. adjacent to the Boise River. The site which was previously the home of the Bob Rice Ford car dealership is planned for future development of programs to support the educational needs of the surrounding communities.

Since its first class offering in January 2009, College of Western Idaho’s enrollment has skyrocketed. This fall 10,217 credit students and an additional 10,480 non-credit program students enrolled across the College’s campuses in Nampa and Boise, community locations, and online. This record enrollment included more than 7,000 students attending classes at various leased Ada County locations including the current Ada County Campus at Overland and Maple Grove in Boise.

CWI is forming a steering committee and will look to engage the community and surrounding neighbors as part of the planning discussions scheduled later this year. The intent is that the new site will enable the College to move from existing leased locations and expand the programs offered including, general academic transfer programs, business, science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and expand its workforce and technical education programs.

“We are excited to find a location that supports our student community as well as the businesses seeking a trained and well educated workforce,” said Mary Niland, board president. “From the beginning, CWI has made a promise to our community to offer affordable access to higher education and training. We are keeping that promise through investment in our young people and the future of the western Idaho region.”

College locations in Ada and Canyon County have consisted of leased, shared, and a few owned buildings that have provided short-term solutions in meeting the current educational demand of western Idaho. To help address the growing needs of the community and space shortage, CWI has leased buildings to provide needed classroom and services space ; however, even with this unsatisfactory, stop-gap solution, students still face challenges scheduling classes and accessing support services without traveling around the valley. Additionally, the cost for leasing space continues to increase and with the improving economy, costs are going higher, which does not support a long term and stable campus environment for students attending CWI.

“This land will ensure that we continue to meet the growing demand for education in Idaho,” said CWI President Bert Glandon. “Completion of degree or certificate credentials is critical to narrowing the skills gap that many of our state’s employers are facing. Higher education is the key to a strong economy; and as your community college, we intend to continue to work closely with employers to ensure they have a locally skilled workforce to hire.”

“We are pleased to know that the land which was home to our family’s business for so many years, will now provide a legacy dedicated to the educational success of people in our community,” said Fred Rice, son of Bob Rice.

Bike Nazi Endorses Bieter Bikes

Guest Opinion by
BIKEBOY
GUARDIAN bike Nazi

A bike share – just like in the Big City! – is on the horizon, here in li’l ol’ Boise! The honchos are predicting that by the end of April, 114 shareable bikes will be available at 15 stations, scattered around the city center, north end, and BSU area.
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According to the website you download the app (very 21st-century!) and reserve a bike. The pay-as-you-go plan is $4/hour. Or a membership can be purchased for a month or a year, which includes one hour per day of bike use. There is also an additional $2 “out of hub” fee if you stray out of the approved zone. (How did they come up with the hub? Who knows? Perhaps they asked Mayor Bieter where he likes to ride…or the legislature will rule outside the hub like they do with Uber).

Old-timers will remember a “yellow bike” scheme from a few years back. Cheap bikes were painted pale yellow and dropped on city streets for free use by whoever came along. Nobody should’ve been surprised when the bikes evaporated or ended up trashed and abandoned. By contrast, the new Green bikes will be maintained… and the registered borrower will be responsible for safekeeping. You can’t just ride to your destination, lean the bike against a tree or a parking meter, and walk away.

The bikes look a little on the “klunky” size – cruiser-style bikes with fat tires, baskets, adjustable seats, etc. They have a GPS locator, just in case one wanders off the range. One interesting feature – they have a drive shaft instead of a chain. They should be low-maintenance and well-suited for putting around in the downtown/hub area.

Will it succeed?

Bike-shares have been wildly successful in big cities like Boston and New York. In those cities, with dense populations and heavy tourism, bicycle ownership is a luxury. By contrast, Boise is a sprawling suburbia where most residents live away from downtown and can easily own a fleet of bikes and a place to store ‘em.

The membership and rental fees will not cover the costs. Our bankrupt federal government wrote the check for the startup costs, and sponsors will kick in for the ongoing operational costs. Good neighbor St. Lukes is sponsoring it. (Perhaps I’m just being cynical, but are they trying to buy some “good will” from area bike riders, to help them with their grandiose plans to rearrange their neighborhood?) I expect that taxpayers will also help foot the bill going forward, but it’s hard to say what the level of commitment ($) will be.

I saw the spokesman on TV – he was saying the “app” will keep track of how many miles you ride, how many dollars you saved on gas, how much atmospheric carbon your smart transportation choice prevented, etc. Life is good! (Obviously those numbers are only meaningful if the GreenBike is replacing some other form of transportation. If you’re driving downtown to ride a GreenBike, and then driving home again afterwards, you’ll end up spewing more deadly carbon than if you’d just stayed home.)

I personally hope that a year from now we can look back and declare it an unqualified success! But I’m also happy that they have the good judgment to start off modestly.

EPA: “Neptune, Gateway Parks Violate EPA Asbestos Rules”

LazyJ

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has found Ryan Neptune and his Gateway Parks LLC in violation of the “National Emission Standard For Asbestos.” The EPA has issued a compliance order for demolition of the old Lazy J Tavern site owned by Neptune on Old Highway 55 adjacent to the Eagle Gateway Park. The order calls for keeping the demo material wet and disposing of the material at a site authorized to accept such waste.

The EPA warned that violation of the order could cause him to be subject to criminal or civil penalties. Any violation of this Order may result in a civil administrative or judicial action for an injunction or civil penalties of up to $37,500 per day per violation, or both. THE COMPLETE ORDER is Gateway Parks CAA Compliance Order Signed 4-8-2015.

Some Growths Can Be Cancer

Growth for the sake of growth spawns GROWTHOPHOBES. We growthophobes welcome anyone willing to pay their fair share of taxes and fair wages.
HSB HILL
In recent months the GUARDIAN and Mrs. GUARDIAN have been wracked with guilt and ridiculed by friends for our practice of taking “Sunday Drives,” to places like the Riverside Restaurant at Horseshoe Bend or the Boise Stage Stop east of Boise.

While the food at both locations is surprisingly good and the staffs are genuinely friendly “Idaho Folks,” we have come to realize you have to go 15-20 miles to “get away from madding crowds.” The sea of rooftops to the west and endless snake of traffic on Fairview, I-84, Eagle Road, State Street, etc. tend to tighten our neck muscles.

The current crop of politicos in Boise, Meridian, and Garden City are bent on “increased density” as the basis for planning the future of our community. These are the folks who give away our tax dollars, make exceptions to zoning laws to benefit developers, and refuse to allow citizens the voice we are guaranteed in the Idaho Constitution. As the song goes, “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”

Their decisions create problems, which demand solutions, which cost money, all contributing to the decline of our quality of life. The school and highway districts constantly scramble to keep up with the demands caused by unnatural growth. Boise officials have dumped their sex offenders (21 at Vista and Canal), impoverished citizens, trailer parks, low cost housing, and skinny houses in the Vista neighborhood. Now they are spending a federal grant to address the issues. (A few perverts living along Warm Springs and skinny houses in the Harrison Blvd. median would be a good start)
Buildings in downtown Boise, Idaho, USA.
For the past half century we have watched generations of politicos destroy our downtown, leaving a vast wasteland in favor of the Towne Square Mall. The polluted aquifer was ignored, money was squandered over a fire station location, and some of the busiest streets in the state were created.

Meanwhile the downtown wasteland was ripe for development. Thanks to “tax increment financing,” all the property owners living outside the redevelopment area funded the services required when the growth took off. One smooth talking developer after another came in with slick plans which always depended upon taking public money for their private benefit. Taxes on new construction and increased property values goes to CCDC (Capital City Development Corp.) NOT to the city, county, ACHD or schools.

In this latest round of insanity we have people eagerly awaiting recently announced projects including:
–160 unit apartment complex in the area of 5th and Front
–100 room hotel at Capitol and Myrtle (with 26 parking spots)
–100 room hotel across Myrtle on the Dunkley Music property
–300 room convention hotel at 11th and Front with a possible 5,000 seat soccer field
–St. Luke’s seeks to close Jefferson for its private benefit

Meanwhile after half a dozen rejected locations, Boise is building an underground bus station and Gardner is putting the entire Center on the Grove in shadows with new office condos. Buses will be doing some sort of loop against traffic on Capitol.

Not to ignore the rest of the city, Boise leaders are in the process of annexing land on South Cole for a development called “Syringa Valley.” The area is predicted to have 1330 homes, 1110 apartments, 480 condos, and a business park and shopping center.

Both ACHD and Boise Schools have developed plans to spend millions of dollars on the planned urban sprawl.

GBAD Seeks To Use Room Tax To Build Competition For Hoteliers

In an exclusive deal with downtown developer Gardner Company, the Greater Boise Auditorium District has entered into an agreement that would use public land purchased with room tax revenues to build a 200-300 room “nationally flagged” hotel.

Terms became public Thursday when the GBAD board voted 3-1 to appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court their second court defeat in seven months . Judge Lynn Norton recently turned down a petition for judicial confirmation, ruling the financing should go to the voters for approval.

Part of this latest proposal includes a trade or cash payment as part of the offer to acquire condo space in Gardner’s new building on the Centre in exchange for the GBAD land west of the new Simplot “JUMP” project. (DISCLOSURE: GUARDIAN editor Dave Frazier has challenged GBAD’s petitions on constitutional grounds that voters are denied a chance to approve the debt financing of the public projects.) Read the details of the proposed deal DOC040915-04092015152302.

The GUARDIAN found no opposition from hoteliers, even though on the face of it, existing or recently planned hotels would face competition from a big hotel with “insider ties” to GBAD. The memorandum of understanding between GBAD and Gardner calls for any new hotel to have certain facilities, but not to compete with GBAD for meeting space and services.

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