Eagle City and Ada County have recently agreed on a deal which will get the county out of the equation on a proposed Winter Terrain Park on the eastern edge of Eagle. Ada Commishes previously balked at a deal presented by Eagle which would allow private operator Ryan Neptune a 20 year exclusive lease on the county-owned land which is leased to Eagle for a park. With ownership of about 35 acres at the Horseshoe Bend Road site and a 20 lease deal, he is ready to make more snow.
Neptune has a demonstration snow venue at Eagle Island State Park which is currently adrift with manmade snow. County Resident Joan Johnston lives near the Horseshoe Bend Road site and opposes the new venue. Her guest opinion is posted below and we offer equal space to any opposing views.
By Joan Johnston
There have been plenty of opinions, for and against the proposed snow terrain park at the Ada‐Eagle
Sports Complex. Let’s look at the issues that surround this proposal….
In the beginning, the lease agreement was the issue between Ada County and the City of Eagle. The lease agreement doesn’t allow for long term of 20+ years, exclusive use of facilities, land or parking lots.
Historically, the land was purchased to be a landfill buffer because at one point the land fill was to be filled towards the west. Ada County’s Comprehensive Plan indicates that the park land is not to be developed. However, despite this there’s been an accepted offer on 34.45 acres + 6 acres to include the
BMF track at $4,000 per acre. The Ada County Commissioners have made a difficult decision, but only one of the Commissioners considered the citizens concerns and issues into account. The other two sold out the Ada County residents by not taking at least the minimum appraised value of $5,500 which is leaving $51,675 on the table. The County is still cleaning up the Dynamis debacle and its financial drain of over $2 million that Commissioner Yzagguirre help to create. Why couldn’t we at least ask for what the land is worth?
The issue really isn’t about a snow terrain park; it’s about a for‐profit private business having exclusive use of land for 20 years plus 2 option periods of 10 years, parking lots, and public facilities to do business with no investment into the property. There will be lost property tax revenue by the County. Ryan Neptune should purchase the land himself instead of placing the financial burden onto the City of Eagle residents. So why shouldn’t all those folks that are for this for‐profit business having exclusivity on public land step up and help buy the land for Ryan Neptune. The Ada County residents have contributed by reducing the property value by $51,675. So far the City of Eagle has footed most of the bill for Ryan Neptune.
They’re planning on “spending $240,000 if this goes through” according to the Eagle Parks
and Recreation Director. Since the City of Eagle submitted the Design Review application on Ryan
Neptune’s behalf, one can wonder if they also paid for or waived the application fees. It’ll be
interesting to see how long it is before Eagle resident’s taxes are raised particularly after the intersection of Floating Feather and Old Horseshoe Bend Road has to be re‐aligned to make it safer and to accommodate the marked increase in traffic going through the intersection. Some of the traffic will no doubt be alleviated by flowing through the neighboring subdivision to avoid the intersection which
should make those residents really happy.
Ryan Neptune said in the Idaho Statesman on January 8th, 2014 that “in the first 5 days of ticketed use, the park had 3,100 visitors.” So now ACHD has traffic and attendance data that they can use when they consider what road improvements that will need to be made to handle the increase in traffic. But ACHD needs to also take into account that the proposed snow terrain park off of Old Horseshoe Bend Road will be a much larger in size.
This proposed snow terrain park might look good to those that haven’t attended the city council or
BOCC meetings, but the proposed snow terrain park will have its unintended consequences that will be
far more reaching than anybody realizes. The City of Eagle’s officials don’t care about the issues and
potential problems because they have their sights on the prize in the bottom of the cereal box. Well,
Eagle residents, you’re the proud owner of a regional park and all the expenses associated with it.
Better use it and enjoy it, but bring money to buy a ticket to use it and don’t park or step foot into
Ryan’s exclusive areas unless you do buy a ticket. And for everybody else, because it’s not in your back yard, so you’re going to get what you want, so be happy that you got what you’re entitled to at the expense to others.
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