City Government

Parks Credibility On The Line

If you want to visit the Historic Boise Depot or show it off to out of town visitors this summer, don’t hold your breath. Boise Parks has a history of broken promises with the Depot.
Depot hrs.jpg

A sign on the front door claims to open the Spanish Mission Style building during summer months, June-September Monday only from 12:30p.m. to 8 p.m. Wouldn’t it be nice to tour the building, take the elevator or steps to the top of the tower and view the city from a unique vantage point–DAILY?

The GUARDIAN’s first posting a year ago was about the Depot being closed to the public unless you have nearly a grand in cash to rent it. The City Parks Dept. responded with special hours that supposedly had it open to the public by appointment for two hours each Monday.

Our problem is with the fanfare we all endured and bought into–literally bought bricks, paintings and T-shirts–in an effort to SAVE THE DEPOT. Fact is Boise suckered the citizens into SAVING the Depot and promptly locked the public out!

Boise claims the only way they can afford to maintain the public building is to keep the public out. It is closed most weekends for private wedding receptions, graduations, and parties.

Tourists and locals alike–especially children–would have a lasting memory of a Boise landmark.

A Parks spokesperson said Tuesday she would “take a look at the sign.” She said there were no plans to have any sort of grand opening to kick off the summer season.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Guardian
    You are right about us “buying” bricks to save it, but one of the reasons I bought mine was to get the MK logo off the front of the building. So far so good!

  2. Boise Cynic
    May 31, 2006, 3:00 pm

    Hey, Boise only has tourists on Mondays during the summer and never on holidays. Also, children in school should never be in the old depot with their working parents.
    Conclusion – what idiot decided that Monday was THE day to be open?

    Children’s lasting memory of the Boise depot will be peeing in the ponds……. thanks to the closure to the Boise public. By the way, what do our taxes go for besides the city council trips and legal fees?

  3. Keep the blow torch to their behinds on this one. If the city was serious about making the Depot a tourist attraction, it would form a task force to make recommendations to the mayor and city council on expanded uses for the historic structure. A railroad museum and theme restaurant in the building could make the place a magnet, but what do I know living in Minnesota.

  4. Well gee, what is wrong with asking for volunteers to fill the void. Lord knows there are oodles of train fanatics and so so many old timers, that carry along a story or two of history to share with folks. Plus would help fill a gap for many retired seniors.

    This way the place can be open at least like the visitor center hours and on a daily basis. Could always give it a trial run.

    It is a shame that so so many people have missed a chance to see such wonderful place packed full of so much history and memories from a time long gone.

    TEST RUN>>>
    Volunteers Interested?

  5. Now the Boise depot is one of our most scenic tourist attractions- the tax-payers shelled out to keep it that way and now Team Bieter’s parks dept. is locking them out of enjoying the depots beauty.
    In a sense, it does make sense, in that city government often is the most non-sensical when dealing with Joe Taxpayer’s cents.
    In another sense,let’s make City govt. use some sense in a much more sensible way. Wouldn’t it be sensational!

  6. Boise Parks and Rec operates according to what’s comfortable for THEM, and the taxpaying public be hanged. Heaven knows they have enough managers standing around looking for someone or something to manage, that surely one could meander past the depot a couple times a week. With the summer seasonal staff the restrooms and floors could be taken care of.

    They already are likely dedicating a half of an employee’s time to “reservations” for the galas and receptions, catering (hello Chef Berryhill), etc. Would dedicating the whole person really bring everything to a screeching halt? I do love the idea of volunteers to greet visitors and answer questions…a little Depot Auxilliary, or Friends of the Depot, if you will. The City Council and Mayor should INSIST that the Parks folks climb out of their tiny little comfort zone and figure out how to keep the place open….like they promised.

  7. Boise Citizen
    Jun 2, 2006, 11:18 pm

    Why put money and effort into something as worthless as a train depot the people actually want when the city can spend so much time and money swimming upstream in the court system?

    When our mayor was elected he took his legal practice to city hall at the tax payer’s expense.

    If we had even half the money back that has been wasted in needless legal battles since he’s been in office we could afford to have the depot open with tourist attractions within…

    Priorities, priorities, priorities…

  8. The real reason the Depot is closed is that the City Council wants the use the Depot for its’ hiped up “light rail” system. If you open the Depot now then you just have to chase tourists and visitors away when you have 100+ bus trips a day pulling up to the door to ferry riders to who knows where.

    The neighbors around the Depot have no idea that the entire area around the Depot will need to be cleared of homes to accomidate the transfer of people from train to buses.

    Using the Depot as a light rail station is actually kind stupid because the transfer process itself will be comberson and expensive. Besides how many of those folks that are going to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to live in the massive condo project right next to the tracks are going file lawsuits?

  9. Guardian, I swung by the Depot on my way home from work yesterday – around 5:45pm. Not only was it open, but the wedding-and-event vultures had swooped in and set up their displays and tents, both inside and on the courtyard out front. (As usual, I was on my bicycle, so parking was NOT an issue… but the place was crowded. I’d guess a 75/25 vendor/citizen mix.)

    Just inside the door were the ambitious plans for the “Big Mike Relocation” – to move the vintage steam locomotive from Julia Davis Park up to a spot adjacent to the Depot. Is there any reason we couldn’t rename the locomotive “Big Dave” when it’s moved? (Or maybe “Big Brent,” for nostalgia’s sake?) (Will the locomotive be available for rental, or will it be open to the taxpaying public?)

  10. Jon Q Publique
    Jun 6, 2006, 11:23 pm

    I have to agree with Inside Boi about using the Depot as a light rail station/transfer point. It doesn’t make sense. Getting the buses to head north from the Depot should be a real trick. Talk about delay time. On the other hand, it would be a great “neighborhood reinvestment” project.

    The City seems to be hung up on getting a light rail system going. I thought the idea would go away when Brent did, but no such luck. Dave, the Council, and CCDC continue to push the idea. Makes one wonder if Motive Power having a locomotive rebuild/manufacturing facility here in Boise has anything to do with that.

    Maybe Guardian readers can contribute to a fund to buy a Lionel or American Flyer train set for the Mayor, the Council, and CCDC in lieu of light rail. Lionel used to have a really nice Birney streetcar.

    Folks I know who have mass transit backgrounds say light rail isn’t feasible for Boise for a long, long time although preserving the corridor is a good idea. The City of Trees doesn’t have the population density necessary to support light rail. Los Angeles, with both more population and more population density than Boise, is currently developing bus rapid transit (BRT) in lieu of light rail. Salem, Oregon put plans for a light rail system on hold after cost estimates came in at $ 51 million for 2.5 miles.

    The whatever our name is this week bus system is only covering about 10% of its operating cost from fares. I’m told that is an all time low for Boise. A light rail system would cost even more to operate.

    My transit sources suggest uttering the words “New Starts” whenever public officials use the words “light rail”. Seems federal funding for new light rail starts is a real moving target. Of course when all else fails, there’s always the good olde “demonstration project.”

    Boise needs a light rail system? Don’t think so. Does the Depot need to be more accessible to the public? Absolutely! Let’s find the money, and volunteers, to make the Depot more accessible.

    By way, does anyone know whether or not the City ever got demurrage fees (that’s storage fees for non-library types) from UP for storing its rail cars on City property?


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