The Greater Boise Auditorium District board, known affectionately as the “G-BAD Boys,” are still in GROWTH mode and this time they seek to move up…literally.
The DAILY PAPER has a piece by reporter Cynthia Sewell in Tuesday’s edition explaining yet another expansion plan which includes adding a story atop the existing structure. It is fraught with stumbling blocks that include closing the facility for a year during construction and even more intrusion onto the public roadway.
The downtown area has become a virtial sardine can of buildings and parking structures. We have often noted that Boise is a small town and jamming more structures into the core won’t make it bigger. Streets are narrow and blocks are small. Toss in the skinny Aspen apartments across Front and there just isn’t any room…something growth oriented officials apparently ignore each time they approve projects.
The Grove Hotel squeezed the sidewalk to almost unuseable width, intruded illegallly into the public area on the Grove, they comandeered one lane of Capitol Blvd.–sometimes two–and now the Center on the Grove convention folks want to take another lane of Front Street in their preliminary expansion plans. They frequently block 9th Street at the loading dock during events.
The G-BAD boys have seen most of their dreams turn into nightmares. Their arch nemisis is the Ameritel Inn hotel chain and head honcho Chuck Everett. When G-BAD used public money for a campaign promoting one side of an election, Ameritel sued them and they got whacked by the Idaho Supreme Court. They have been turned down by voters at two elections and every scheme they attempt with hoteliers and developers has failed. Their focus has always been to develop downtown.
Most recently Everett and Ameritel got an injunction in a Pocatello court against that eastern Idaho auditorium district for illegally spending district funds for tourist promotion because the convention center agency doesn’t even have a convention center!
Now that Pocatello decision has led to a split between G-BAD and the Boise Convention and Visitors Bureau. The BCVB got most of its funds from G-BAD. Between the court order in Pocatello and an opinion of the Idaho Attorney General, that cozy relationship has ceased. It was a questionable financial relationship with a director making about $150,000 a year and G-BAD members sitting on the BCVB board like the infamous interlocking directorates of old. All the while BCVB refused to make public its finances, claiming to be a private non-profit. The split was a good move and the convention center is now doing its own marketing.
We have to say most of these players are well intended, but a dose of reality and perspective could do wonders for the tourist industry in Boise. Common sense actions like opening the Depot daily during summer months, directional signs to attractions throughout the city,
and schedules posted at bus stop shelters would go a long way toward making Boise a tourist destination rather than gumming up the downtown with more stuff.
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