City Government

Citizens locked out of Boise Depot

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter is following in the steps of his predecessor, Brent Coles, by locking the general public out of the building they rallied to “save” under the previous administration.


If you pony up nearly a grand, Boise Parks will let you into the historic train depot which stands guard over the city at the south end of Capitol Boulevard facing the State Capitol at the other end.

The view from the bell tower is spectacular, but if you can’t afford to rent the place for the $900 minimum fee you can “forgetaboutit.” Sad state of affairs when citizens own a building used exclusively for commercial office space and social receptions. For a few years it was open to visitors, but only mornings and afternoons–it was CLOSED weekends and during lunch!

The Guardian thinks the public should have access to public buildings. City officials limit access only for those who can afford to rent it. If it costs $75,000 to run it for the public so be it. BUT if they have to keep the public out to rent it to a select few, it is best to sell it to a private high bidder…afterall it was owned by a private railroad for nearly a century, never went anywhere AND the Union Pacific would let you in!

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Georgia Marshall
    May 18, 2005, 3:04 pm

    Remember, the view from the bell tower at any $900 event, costs $60 more for four hours!

  2. Richard Kaylor
    May 20, 2005, 8:33 am

    I asked the City of Boise to respond to your article on access to the Boise Depot. Here is their response:

    To the Boise Guardian

    The Boise Parks & Recreation has been evaluating the operations and services available at the Boise Depot in an effort to cut costs and make facility operations more efficient. The move follows the December 2004 retirement of Georgia Marshall, the Depots only full-time staff member.

    The Walk-in public hours was discontinued in January 2005. However, Group or individual tours can be scheduled by calling the reservation line 384-4228, currently we are only providing tours Tuesday or Thursday when scheduled, Elevator rides to the Bell Tower are offered as part of the tour, there is no charge for this service.

    Private Events can be scheduled between 7:00 am and Midnight. Weddings/Receptions, Fund-raising Events, Corporate parties, Business Breakfasts, Lunches and Dinners.

    I am sorry you missed the 80th Anniversary Event April 16 & 17 we hosted a two day free event with the Depot doors open all day both days, elevator rides, and historical displays were available to all the visitors both days.

    We hope to have Staff assigned to the Depot on a regular bases by mid June for at least 3 days a week W-F from 1pm to 5pm. Since January, Parks & Recreation facility reservation staff has assisted with scheduling over 135 events at the Depot for 2005, and have provided scheduled tours on a weekly basis. Our staff also provides services to over 1500+ customers scheduling city park’s picnic and garden facilities, in addition to the 147 Community Events held in our city Parks each year.

    I hope I have address your concerns. BPR is reviewing many possibilities for the Depot and welcome suggestions, we no longer have staff assigned just to the Depot, for this reason we do hope you will understand our re-inventing the options offered. Please call me at 384-4060 ext 321 if you have additional questions. Or call the Facility Reservation Line and request to schedule a time to tour the Depot. 384-4228.

    Thank you,
    Ginger Jewell, Park Event Coordinator
    Boise Parks & Recreation
    1104 Royal Blvd, Boise ID 83706
    208 384-4060 ext. 321
    Fax 208 384-4127

    visit our website at

  3. Claudia Miller
    May 24, 2005, 8:50 pm

    Why not staff the depot with volunteers? We trust volunteers to take care of some of the hospital services. I”ll bet if asked you would have enough to keep the depot open on weekends and have free tours for the general public. After all. . .we own it.

  4. We had our wedding there. And we’re far from “wealthy” to boot. Let me clue you int that once they have your grand they don’t treat you very well at all. It’s like they welcome your money but don’t want to actually have to provide any services in return.

    And yes, the elevator up to the bell tower does cost an extra $60. But even after you’ve forked over the dough you can’t even take your new wife up there and give her a kiss w/o being accomnpanied by security. None of our guests actually went up there. I mean, who wants to have to hunt down security to just so they can check out the view?

    IMHO, the current manager and her arrogant attitude need to be sent packing. Or at the very least given a big wallop up side the head and reminded who’s footing the bill for her salary.

  5. I think that the train depot knows what it needs to do to preserve the building and above all I think that is the most important thing to consider. Also, I know that if you call ahead the staff would be more than happy to schedule you a tour.

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: