GUARDIAN Predicts “Rain Out” On Boise Ball Park

The GUARDIAN and reader Dean Gunderson have teamed up to call the Hawks game between Boise and Meridian. Our preseason conclusion is while there may be just barely enough square feet for a park at the 2900 Fairview location on land owned by the city, it will take a ton of money to make it work.

Here’s how Gunderson did the graphics–something the Hawks’ consultant would charge big bucks for!

“The red dashed outline on the image of S.F. Giants AT&T Park is the scale outline for the Fairwiew site — so you can see a direct comparison. The light bluegreen dashed line is the outline of the existing Hawks Stadium’s fenced area — with an outfield adjusted to meet generic Major League standards.”

Team Dave will be encouraged that it is almost mandatory to have some sort of transit in operation. Parking is also an issue along with a good chance of “road hazards” from home runs and foul balls on Fairview and Main.


With regard to financing, here is how it boils down: A $20,000,000 bond at 5% for the maximum legal term of 24 years will cost just shy of $119,000 PER MONTH…or $1.44 MILLION a year for a total payout of $34.5 million. That’s also about $4,000 per day or for you minimalists $166 an hour 24/7 for 24 years–attorney wages.

Bottom line for us: there probably isn’t a revenue stream to support the investment given the competition from the MORRISON CENTER, CENTRE ON THE GROVE, FAIR GROUNDS, IDAHO CENTER, BSU PAVILION, new EAGLE AMPHITHEATER, and about a dozen high school fields.


Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Why I don’t go to “the game” anylonger. Not to mention the huge ticket prices.

  2. what kind of zoning is required for a ball park?

    Zoning is whatever Team Dave decides!

  3. Why do I have the feeling that before this is done, it is REALLY gonna hurt???

  4. BG, Dean:

    Could you please provide me with additional reference points on the Fairview site in Meridian, i.e. buildings to the right and left of the site on the graphic, proximity to Meridian speedway, monolithic city hall, etc. I’m having trouble envisioning the spot, though I drive along Fairview from Meridian Road frequently. I’d like to do a driveby to see how close this site is to my home. I already hear the speedway on warm summer nights — I almost feel like I’m there, but I’m not. This latest BIG project raises serious noise/traffic concerns. The one-way streets are already a nightmare. I can tell you as a five-year resident of Meridian I will not support any tax increase to pay for this, nor do I want it in my district.

    EDITOR NOTE–My fault! The picture is in BOISE at 2900 Fairview (between Main and Fairview). We are not certain of the proposed Meridian site, but it will probably be downtown.

  5. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.
    Apr 16, 2010, 6:44 am

    I’m confused.

    Is someone really proposing to drop $20 million on a stadium for AAA baseball?

    Is someone really thinking they can build a stadium the size of the Dodger’s stadium for $20 million?

    I hear things from street preachers that make more sense.

    EDITOR NOTE–They are talking of a 5,000 seat park. We showed the size of the playing field and current Hawks park for comparison.

  6. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
    Apr 16, 2010, 8:38 am

    Now I am even more confused.

    If we are only talking about a 5,000 seat stadium, what is the Guardian doing posting a picture of 56,000 seat Dodger Stadium?

  7. Dean Gunderson
    Apr 16, 2010, 11:10 am


    The first image (on a dirt lot) is the site BG thinks Boise may advocate for — it’s located between Main Street and Fairview Avenue, just west of 27th Street (across Fairview from the old Goodman Oil site).

    The light blue line indicates the size of the current Hawks Stadium off of Glenwood — the outline contains the ballfield, the stadium seating, the concession stands, and the ticket booths. But, it does not contain the adjacent parking areas.

    The other picture shows both the light blue outline of Hawks Stadium and the Red outline of the the Fairview (Boise) site overlaid on top of the Giants’ AT&T Park in San Francisco. BG had made a comment about how Boise’s proposal might mean that kayakers on the Boise River could shag fly balls — just like boaters in the Bay at AT&T Park. For the record, AT&T Park cost $357M to construct and opened with a seating capacity of 40,800.

    The image of AT&T Park also shows that it is feasible to build a 5,000 seat Minor League stadium on the Fairview site — but there’s very little room for any of the other sundry on-site amenities that go with such urban ball fields, let alone any on-site parking.

    The images convinced me that if parking and transit issues can be worked out, the Fairview site might be a very good location for a Minor League field. To get a good picture of what a comparable Minor League ballfield looks like, here’s a link to CONSOL Energy Park’s website (home of the Washington Wild Things):

    The field (and stands) has a slightly larger footprint than the existing Hawks Stadium, but the whole facility is quite large due to the on-site surface parking lots and adjacent soccer fields. CONSOL Energy Park was built for $5.8M (including $2M in public assistance) in 2002. Though it seats 5,000 concert attendees (Willy Nelson has played there), it only seats 3,200 during ball games. The Wild Things almost always sell out their games.

  8. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday – I think you are confusing yourself. He posted a picture of AT&T Park (S.F., not Dodger Stadium). As the guardian states, “The red dashed outline on the image of S.F. Giants AT&T Park is the scale outline for the Fairwiew site — so you can see a direct comparison.”
    If you look at the second picture, that is the current property, with the blue dotted line as the “proposed” new Boise Park.

  9. Rod in SE Boise
    Apr 16, 2010, 2:46 pm

    I listened to an interview by a local radio station of a Boise Hawks official – don’t remember his name. Among the things I remember him saying was that the Cubs (parent team of the Hawks) were in general happy with Memorial Stadium, except that they would like to see the home team dugout loacted in the shade (instead of the sun) and that they really want more facilities for the players, such as weight rooms. He also indicated that changes to the existing stadium, including adding weight rooms, etc, could be done by the current ownership (I assume this is if there is land available at the site) but that if a new stadium was to be built they estimated it would cost $20 million and could not be done unless it was a private/public partnership. He also said that there might be as many as 15 sites in Boise (or maybe he said Boise & Meridian) big enough to do the job. And, they would need 1600 parking spaces at the site. The 1600 parking spaces seems to rule out the Fairview Ave site, based on your photos.

    I appologize if I mis-remembered any of the interview.

  10. Dean Gunderson
    Apr 16, 2010, 3:58 pm

    I don’t doubt the parking requirement statement. The Fairview site wouldn’t allow for much more than the field and bleachers (and whatever facilities you could fit under the bleachers). Parking would have to be accommodated on an adjacent site — of which there are several currently empty or vacant.

    As an urban planner, building a parking garage would be more preferrable than a surface parking lot. But, a 1,600 space parking structure would cost around $15M. This would be too expensive to do just to accommodate a ballpark — and it wouldn’t be very efficient (if used solely for ballfield events).

    If such a parking structure could be used during regular work days to get folks out of their cars — before they traveled on into downtown Boise — and into a more robust transit system, it might be worth the investment.

    ‘Course, only if you believe in transit.

  11. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
    Apr 16, 2010, 7:40 pm


    I have to yield to you. It makes much more sense to compare a 5,000 seat stadium in boise to the 41,503 seat Giants AT&T Park than it does to compare it to 56,000 seat Dodger Stadium. Not.

    As for DG’s wistful, “if parking and transit issues can be worked out”, I have two words: More Coolaid?

  12. Take the overlay a step further and envision that ACHD vacate 30th between Fairview and Main.

    Then the properties immediately west between 30th and the Shilo Inn are converted to parking, stacked parking of course.

    Probably could get an anchor sports restaraunt in there some where with requisite spin offs.

    BOOM! goes the dynamite and the catalyst\anchor for the 30th Street corridor is born(duly noted that existing corridor blueprint would need modified to reflect above scenario).

  13. There is a small flaw to the discussion so far. It has centered on a location that would MAKE SENSE! What would cause anyone to assume that Boise city would do such a thing? It wouldn’t surprise me, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone, if they proposed to make Ann Morrison Park into a ball park!!! You need to think like the enemy if you expect to defeat, or control them!!

  14. Just the facts from your Meridian neighbor: The Meridian Development Corp.’s Shaun Wardle was scheduled to meet with Boise Hawks President Todd Rahr on April 14 to discuss a possible new Memorial Stadium in Meridian. MDC commissioners could approve a $25,000 feasibility study to determine the total cost of the project, the location of the new stadium and a way to pay for it. I don’t know the outcome of the meeting. New Meridian Economic Development Administrator Brenda Sherwood will address the Meridian Chamber of Commerce Tuesday, April 20 at the Courtyard by Marriott, 1789 S. Eagle Rd (off Overland.) Maybe she’ll have some details. Reservations for the monthly luncheon were due by Friday, but seating might still be available. Call 888-2817 for details.

    I still cannot visualize any site in downtown Meridian that could support this project without major traffic headaches and noise. Let you know if I hear more about the study, location, etc. FYI: Meridian also has Fairview Avenue, Main Street and 9th Street, which is what confused me on the graphic.


  15. Wow, I didn’t know there was anything near 5000 Hawks baseball fans. Is is possible to scalp a Hawks ticket?

  16. Anthony Burmeister
    Apr 19, 2010, 6:49 am

    Interesting to see all the hoopla around the Hawks. Just wondering if they are taking into account the mosquito factor like the current stadium seems to have forgotten when it was built. Also, DEAN, your last comments are dangerous as you mentioned it the parking structure would make sense if they built a more robust transit system. This kind of thinking could help the city renew their efforts to build the Trolley by saying they would run it to the parking structure and therefore relieving downtown traffic, builds the trolley and best of all, it allows those in charge to validate all they have said about what a great thing the trolley is. LOL, wonder if the politicos have figured out how to wrap up the stadium and trolley together yet.

  17. Dean, The red outlined shape does not look like the city owned Fairview site at all. It looks more like the Bob Rice Ford site west of 30th and north of Main.

    Regardless, this came up at the 30th Street Master Plan charette meetings in Feb of 2007. It was determined by the hired urban planning guns, HDR, that neither of those sites, as they currently sit, was big enough for a minor league stadium.

    I superimposed Fresno’s stadium on the Bob Rice site 3 years ago. It fit but with no room for parking.

  18. estimate parking at one parking space for every three seats, or about 1700 for a 5,000 seat stadium. Add 100 or so for laydown, vendors, employees, etc.

  19. Dean Gunderson
    Apr 19, 2010, 12:29 pm

    The second aerial picture in the article shows the 2800 Fairview site, with the outline in a heavy dashed black line. The “site” includes the two adjacent lots that front Main Street. But, no single site would be enough to accommodate both the ball park AND its required parking.

    Regarding transit, and the possibility that a downtown steel-wheeled transit system could be brought to this site, it is possible — though not very probable gien the per-mile cost of such a system. Re-opening the Orchard spur line from the Bench, over the Boise River, down to Government Island — for a Valley-wide Light Rail system is more foward-thinking, because it intercepts commuters before they need to drive into downtown Boise.

    In terms of economic development, the boosterism for a steel-wheel downtown trolley from CCDC seems odd for a re-development agency — since such a system would only bring in a marginal number of additional customers to the downtown. It really only allows the existing downtown workers and retail customers to move around more easily. Is that what downtown businesses prefer? Or would the prefer a bigger slice of the retail market, that a large destination venue would bring?

    Bringing an attraction like a Minor League ball park, actually brings more people to the surrounding area. There are a number of cities around the country that have worked the numbers and realized the economic benefit such a venue can be — to the extent that they contributed public funds to the development. It’s up to Boise to do the same — or not.

    The one thing Meridian has going for it, is it’s relative centrality to the Valley’s residential population. But is this needed for a destination venue — especially one that would seem to require the majority of event attendees to travel on an over-glutted Interstate Highway & Interchange?

    I’m afraid this wouldn’t change much in the future, even after the 10-Mile Interchange is opened. There’s little that State Tax Allotment Revenue or additional GARVEE funds could do to change this. And, I’m not sure local Redevelopment Funds can be spent on a Federal Interstate improvement (like an expanded Interchange) — but I may be wrong. If Meridian chose a transit friendly location near the existing rail spur line, when (if) a Light Rail transit service is added to the Valley, it could draw transit riders from both Boise and Nampa.

  20. … delete

  21. Hey, this idea doesn’t pass the Tea Party “socialistic” litmus test. Come to think of it, pro sprts like football don’t pass the test as well. Get after it Tea Party. End socialistic sports in America! If sports costs tax payer money, we don’t want it.

  22. dog, you miss the most important factor of all. The intense addiction to sports. Football season is almost here, and parents will begin ignoring their children’s needs for those of the bronco team.

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