Developer Was PAID To Fill Downtown Hole

When Mayor Dave Bieter stood in front of the construction site wall at 8th and Main recently vowing to “tear down this wall,” he conveniently failed to let citizens of Boise know the private developer will be paid as much as $4 million by Boise taxpayers for his private venture.

This is the stuff the “Occupy” crowd loves to hear about.

Like about everything else these days, business can’t seem to make it without tapping into the public coffers. The IDAHO REPORTER offers details of the deal between Boise’s urban renewal agency, Capitol City Development Corp.(CCDC) and the Gardner Company. At issue is the infamous “hole in the ground” which has been the subject of numerous botched construction and financing deals.

Gardner is the builder on behalf of Zions Bank which claims its Idaho operations will be housed in the building.

Seems CCDC voted to approve the funds at its September 22 meeting. Total amount of the gift from the citizens of Boise will depend on the total size of the proposed structure–currently set at 253,000 square feet.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Rats, big ones, everywhere! If a politicians lips are moving….

  2. That’s like the prostitution business, where the customer pays to fill a hole. We are paying customers to corporations and it doesn’t matter if we like it. The politicians are the pimps.

    So how do you like getting pimped Boise?

  3. This looks like dog bites man. For example, the Idaho Reporter notes “$Public improvements to enhance sidewalks on 8th Street and Main Street” which is no different than the sidewalk work on 9th Street last year. And over the long term probably most side walks in the CCDC area.

    If you don’t like CCDC, this is one more reason for you.

    If you appreciate public works, and things like sidewalks you might have another opinion.

    EDITOR NOTE–We don’t like CCDC! We don’t object to public improvements, we object to paying for the private stuff. This is dumb growth for one unit of government to pay the fees of another unit!

    If this list is your reference, you –like Team Dave–sort of left out the good part:
    -$2.6 million for site remediation and protection of the adjacent Eastman public garage
    -$0.4 million for relocation and reconnection of Idaho Power systems serving downtown area
    -$1.0 million for reimbursement of system impact fees (ACHD)
    -Public improvements to enhance sidewalks on 8th Street and Main Street
    -Other legally eligible public improvements as may be identified during construction
    -The ramp access through Eastman garage to the structured building parking provides an additional incentive through avoided construction costs of internal ramping
    -Release of claim of $500,000 related to previous development with contingency
    -A bank facilities lease agreement will be forthcoming, which leases the drive-through facility as a part of the project

  4. Corporate welfare queens.

  5. Just financing another bank

  6. When was the meeting where the vote took place? Was there a public notice with this on the agenda? Where are the documents that outline what was voted for?
    PLEASE – someone dig into this.

    EDITOR NOTE–Story says Sept. 22 meeting. Check the link for more details.

  7. Ah, the infamous Boise “hole!” How can anybody in Boise be proud of that eyesore??? I support the general idea of getting that blight cleaned up. So count me in favor of urban renewal on this particular location. Here’s the Web site:

    Even though the economists tell us we’re not in a true “depression,” we’re in a depression, folks! And we need the construction jobs!

    I also support the efforts for rail, especially if we get truly competent people in place to do it correctly and at lowest possible cost. I’d like to see light rail from the Boise airport to downtown and Boise State University and then west to Caldwell. It could be done in a way that makes the rail work in harmony with the existing bus system. Cars are becoming increasingly UNAFFORDABLE. Have you priced one lately?

    Unfortunately, the problem with any push for progress often involves the wrong people — incompetent actors — in jobs that require real expertise and talent. We should be focusing our efforts not on opposing progress, but instead we should pay closer attention to the individuals being selected to implement progress. We need to do our part and watch them closely and we need to establish benchmarks for them to meet and we need to hold them responsible. Let’s make sure competent people are implementing progress! Let’s hold their feet to the fire.

    Dave, you and I discussed urban renewal many years ago and we agreed to disagree on certain points.

    If we look at the history of urban renewal in downtown Boise, there have been examples of success and failure, but — on balance — Boise now has a pretty nice downtown and a pretty nice system of parks, although I agree with Dave that Tablerock in Boise might actually be an excellent, additional park location.

    As for urban renewal in downtown Boise: Some historic structures were torn down that probably should have been saved. In addition, we have a lot of relatively low wage earners who contribute to downtown Boise’s success and we need to devise good strategies to house those folks. They need to have decent, affordable housing opportunities and wouldn’t it be logical to provide some type of decent, affordable housing for those who want to live close to where they work?

    But getting that ugly “hole” in downtown Boise put to some productive use is something I support. There’s nothing mysterious or inherently corrupt about urban renewal finance. All you have to do is study the basic principles and you can understand how it works.

    On the other hand, I agree there are some criticisms of urban renewal that are valid. For example, some Idaho communities have used these tools in questionable locations such as suburbs. But we’re not talking about a suburban urban renewal push here. We’re talking about the heart of our state’s capital city.

    The other criticism of urban renewal that is valid, in my view, is the lack of transparency that results from a poorly-executed communications strategy. The public *must* be kept informed with clear writing, helpful graphics and tables, and other visual aids! If you can’t show people how they’re going to benefit, and if you can’t show people that money is being spent wisely, then they won’t support the project. Put up a good Web site! They’re off to a start here:

    Another downtown project that I’m hoping to see done well is the “Jack’s Urban Meeting Place” (JUMP) here:

    If these projects get off the ground, then that should put a dent in our high unemployment rate.

  8. For me the real problem is lack of transparency. If the Mayor had announced the $4 million cost to get up to ground level – and that we would have to pay it, at least we would know on the front end and not be discussing it here.

    Many corporate projects cost public money – just let us know, in advance. We can then select our elected officials partly on their beliefs (and ours) regarding this practice.

  9. Speaking of affordable housing, here is a decent bit of research on what it takes to rent a decent place these days in Idaho and other states:

    This information is published by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. It’s pretty interesting to view the graphics because they reveal that Idaho’s rental housing costs are higher than those of many other states. Shouldn’t we be working on solving this problem to keep it from getting even worse?

  10. Speaking of transparency…

    In the city of Chicago, David Orr, the Cook County Clerk, publishes all of the tax increment financing (TIF) district information on a Web site:

    That way, the public can study how everything works in connection with tax increment financing.

    Here in Boise, the Capital City Development Corporation (CCDC) appears to be attempting to maintain a reasonably informative Web site. There are some really interesting documents available to Boiseans and there is a Web page that tells one when/where the nine-member board of the CCDC meets:

    “CCDC’s nine member Board of Commisioners generally meets the second Monday of the month at noon in the CCDC conference room. The meetings are open to the public.”

    (At 121 North 9th Street, Suite 501.)

    The board packets are uploaded there in PDF format as well.

    That’s a good start. But here’s my specific suggestion for anybody at CCDC who might be willing to experiment with something a little bit radical:

    1. Get an inexpensive 720p/480p consumer digital video/audio recorder with a big storage drive and a good external microphone. An Apple iPod Touch should work fine.

    2. Set up the microphone and feed the audio to the iPod Touch with a simple cable to clearly record the meeting conversation. You could also mount the iPod touch on a tripod and fit the chairperson into a wide shot with as many board members as possible and record the entire meeting.

    3. Upload the digital video/audio to a suitable site. Unfortunately, YouTube is limiting uploaded videos to a ten-minute length, I think, but there are other upload Web site options out there that would probably allow for the free upload of a lot of compressed video/audio. I know of a few.

    4. Put a link on the CCDC Web site to the recordings.

    In this way, each Boise citizen can observe and listen to the topics being discussed at these public board meetings. Each citizen could watch/listen at his/her leisure using a simple home computer.

    If this idea isn’t feasible, then why not explore a partnership with the government access channel at Treasure Valley Community Television?


    Nevertheless, there *are* some very interesting documents on the CCDC Web site here:

    I’m reading the one about affordable housing in the downtown Boise neighborhood. But when the National Low Income Housing Coalition here…

    …produces a graphic that shows Idaho’s typical two-bedroom, fair market value rental home outpacing inflation and rising — in cost — from the year 2000 to the year 2007 by 20% (to as high as 28% in some areas of Idaho), doesn’t that suggest a rather scary problem? I’m sure things have drastically slowed since 2008, but I don’t see rents falling in my neighborhood.

    The Leland Consulting Group did a study of housing costs in downtown Boise for CCDC in 2003 here:

    This is quite interesting, but I wonder what a new snapshot would reveal… ?

  11. Really, only 253,000 square feet? That’s not much bigger than the Penny’s store at the mall (it’s a tad over 200,000 sf). Even if The City of Boise taxpayers come up with $4 million that only comes to a one time investment of $18 a sf in a building that will lease for $30 or more a sf. per year and more than repay Boise in property taxes over the years. Not a bad investment over a hole in the ground in IMHO.

    EDITOR NOTE–Eric your math is just fine, but Boise won’t see any property taxes because the tax on ALL IMPROVEMENTS goes to the CCDC, not the city. You and I have to pay for the police, fire, schools and all other services rendered to the structure. The city will be lucky to see even $2,000 in taxes based on the base value of the bare ground.

  12. Only $2,000 in taxes? You could be right but won’t just the building of the structure bring in jobs? And won’t those jobs bring money into the community thru payroll and new employees eating lunch and enjoying happy hour? And even if the taxes go to the CCDC instead of the city don’t they stay in the community?

    EDITOR NOTE–this debate goes on forever. The workers CONSUME services, drive on our streets, poop in our sewers and send their kids to our schools, etc. Our prior economy was based on construction and collapsed. Micron gets tax breaks and claims the workers pay taxes, but they don’t all live in Boise, hence the argument falls apart. We want the hole filled as badly as anyone else, but there is no reason to PAY a company to build a structure and CCDC needs to go away so the taxes on improvements within the district go to the city, county, and schools.

  13. Actually, I would disagree with Dave’s characterization that “Boise won’t see property taxes.”

    Boise, in fact, would *eventually* see property taxes — and in a big way.

    But during a limited period of several years — immediately after completion of the project — the additional taxes generated by the project will not be received by Boise, but instead will be used to pay for the public improvements associated with the project (sidewalks, street lights, etc.). After the public improvements are fully paid for, the gain in property tax revenue would, in fact, go to the city and other taxing authorities.

    You can see how Capital City Development Corporation (Boise’s development agency) figures into the equation by studying the graphic here:

    This is a finance mechanism that has been used for decades in the United States. There’s nothing new or mysterious about it.

    Critics believe the long time (several years) required to realize any gain negates the overall value of the process. They also believe that the gain in property taxes does not make up for the additional property-related service costs: fire, police, schools, etc.

    Supporters see the “hole” as a major cost — a blight that drags down adjacent property values and tax revenues in addition to contributing a whole lot of “ugly” to the heart of Idaho’s capital city.

    But in future years… the city, county and schools will receive additional property taxes if this project is completed.

    To settle an argument with Dave over this issue, I would be willing to dig out the records of the Capital City Development Corporation related to past development in Boise and I would be willing to calculate the additional tax revenue now being realized by local taxing authorities as a result of downtown urban renewal.

    Much of what we see in downtown Boise today — many of the beautiful amenities — were the result of the work done by the Capital City Development Corporation, which is a public agency of the City of Boise. This is precisely why, in my view, that Boise has a relatively nice downtown today.

    As for sewer service, that is a fee-based service. So if this new project results in more people utilizing the sewer, then they will pay fees that will compensate the city for taking care of the additional sewage. So I don’t agree with Dave’s suggestion that people in this project “poop” in the Boise sewers and thereby create costs that aren’t paid for. Sewer has already been extended to that site. And the users will pay fees to connect and then the project will pay periodic fees thereafter, according to use.

    While I support urban renewal in downtown core areas, I do not support urban renewal as a tool for use in suburbs unless there is a clear and compelling reason sanctioned by a majority of people in the community. Urban renewal can be a useful tool, but it is best reserved for use in downtown core areas. In other words, I believe there should be limits.

    I also believe all adult citizens of a community should learn the basic principle of tax increment financing (TIF) so that they can make an informed decision about whether it should or should not be used in a given circumstance.

    It’s really a shame that the CCDC Web site, as far as I can see, does not appear to offer a graphic or a helpful video animation to show how this works.

    EDITOR NOTE–Jerry, you are confusing issues. My response to the “creates jobs” argument was that workers consume services. That is true period! You can’t excuse taxes on the employer and claim the workers will make up for the lost revenue. It has nothing to do with urban renewal or CCDC.

    With regard to taxes, I doubt you will win the argument about tax benefits. The district was running 30 year programs that are now limited to 24 years–not a mere “few years” as you contend. They even extended the downtown district sunset and I admit I am not certain how far out.

    Finally, CCDC is without oversight of ANY government agency–city, county, or state. They are an “independent body corporate and politic” that reports to no one after being created by the city or county. The supremes have ruled they are not subject to the Idaho Constitutional mandate of seeking voter approval for long term debt. They divert our tax money and spend without any checks and balances.

  14. Here’s another graphic that explains tax increment financing (TIF) from the Web site of the city of Sioux Falls, South Dakota:

    EDITOR NOTE–In plain English “TAXES ON ALL IMPROVEMENTS AND APPRECIATED VALUE” are diverted to the district for up to 24 years under Idaho law. The “base” value is either the bare ground or the existing structure’s value (usually very low).

    Every citizen in every city ought to understand this. The schools should offer it in basic citizenship courses. Pros and cons should be thoroughly discussed, too. It’s a basic tool that can be used in our so-called democracy. But how can a democracy function if nobody understands the basics?

  15. Dave wrote about the Capital City Development Corporation (CCDC):

    “They divert our tax money and spend without any checks and balances.”

    I respectfully disagree, Dave. The same democratic process that created the agency can also be used to eliminate the agency.

    In addition, the board that governs the agency is a public board and you and I have a right to representation on that board.

    If you feel strongly that your point of view is held by a significant number of people in the Boise community, then — by all means — that view should have a place on the public board.

    Even if you do not have a seat on the board at the current time, you have the right to attend the meetings and contribute your comments and your opinions and the same is true for me and any other member of this community.

    Let’s assume you and numerous other members of the community feel the time has come to end the CCDC. Well, there is a process available to you to achieve that end. It’s called the democratic process. You could share your opinion with your legislator and you could also build consensus within our community that could eventually end the agency.

    There is a strident critic of urban renewal in Chicago who has written numerous alternative newspaper articles explaining why he opposes tax increment financing (TIF) districts. His name is Ben Joravsky. I’ve read his arguments and studied them in detail and I do not agree with those arguments.

    Nevertheless, if a majority in my community were to disagree with me and if they were able to persuade elected officials to eliminate all urban renewal, then I would honor and abide by that decision.

    Even if the anti-CCDC view were to be only a minority opinion in the community, then I would still respect that opinion and I do respect your point of view and I’m constantly weighing the pros and cons of these in my own mind.

    But I do believe we are in a depression. Maybe we’re not in a depression as deep and severe as the Great Depression, but we’re in a depression. And that’s why, on balance, I’d like to see more employment opportunities for our people who work in construction.

    If fixing downtown Boise’s “hole” allows some of those people to go back to work, then that’s not a terrible thing, in my mind.

  16. Jerry you are trying to teach a pig to sing. Yes, in the real world this would be called a “public private partnership” but here in Idy-ho the Luddites rule the roost. C’mon – join the Guardian and throw your shoes into the machine. That’ll make all this awful progress stop.

  17. I hear you.

    But — seriously — I forgot to mention one really big public improvement that has been critical to downtown Boise’s success: parking garages:

    Boise’s public agency, Capital City Development Corporation, (CCDC) owns six (6) public parking structures:

    1. Eastman
    2. Capitol Terrace
    3. City Centre
    4. Grove Street
    5. Myrtle Street
    6. Boulevard

    Without this public parking, how would downtown Boise or any other downtown function??? Honestly, these are public structures that allow people to park their cars. There isn’t enough on-street parking to accommodate everybody. If we didn’t drive so many cars, then maybe we wouldn’t need to spend money on these structures. But then — the very opponents of public parking garages often oppose public transit as well.

    Chris, can you think of an alternative?

  18. Jerry,
    Have you ever given any consideration to letting property taxpayers decided if they want their dollars spent on a particular project. That is why we have BOND ELECTIONS. And add to that the super majority is not unreasonable given that not ever property owner is a voter (they live elsewhere and can’t vote) and not every person living within the boundaries of a UR district is a property owner (they rent the space they occupy.

    Urban Renewal is the consummate example of taxation without representation where it exists. Districts have been formed without voter approval, the projects spending millions of property tax dollars have no voter oversight, board members are appointed and more often than not throw money at POP-UP targets with no real plans of achieving anything beyond spending dollars that would never be spent if put up for voter approvals.

    Try giving voters some credit for deciding which projects they wish to fund instead of rationalizing TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION.

    I am forced to pay $288/$100k of net taxable value to the wizards of CEURA as a surcharge to pay for schools, streets, fire, police and other necessary city services to make up for the $6MM a year siphoned off for all manner of goodies purchased by CEURA in Caldwell. UR is a massive tax shift that has to be made up by those not living in the UR district because city budgets and other taxing districts are budget driven and they simply raise the levy rates on those not living in the UR districts to make up the difference.

  19. I understand many of Jerry’s points when it comes to urban renewal but I disagree that the “hole” needed a CCDC handout. This was not a charity case. That property sits on arguably the best commercial intersection in all of Boise. Not only was it valuable on its own, given its notorious past it had the all important ego-stroking cache that developers crave. Once you buy this lot, you are front page news. This was not an EPA disaster in need of big brothers bailout. The way I see it CCDC just subsidized a lot that was going to be purchased and developed by somebody eventually, they just greased the wheels. The question is how much?

    Jerry, the means do not always justify the ends. Every time CCDC throws their (our) money around opportunities for conflicts of interest, corruption, and back room deals occur. Because of this I believe the threshold to warrant CCDC involvement in public improvement projects should be very high. The “hole” does not meet the threshold, meanwhile a property owner got a price he might not have otherwise gotten, and the new owner got a discount he might not have otherwise gotten all on the taxpayers dime.

  20. one more comment to Jerry,

    Jerry, who do you think pays for all those high paying construction jobs? Property taxpayers do Jerry and don’t you think it a bit unreasonable that all Ada property taxpayers take a hit due to CCDC? Perhaps voters should be given the opportunity to vote up or down pork projects for downtown Boise. Yea..that’s right every Ada County property taxpayer underwrites the tax shift created by CCDC. Taxing districts all over Ada have to raise their collective levy rates to make up for the shortfall created by the amount siphoned off by CCDC. And give this a few moments of consideration you think for an instant a cash strapped family would rather have their tax dollars to pay bills or give it to CCDC if they clearly understood what a ripoff UR really is?

  21. Paul wrote:

    “…millions of property tax dollars have no voter oversight.”


    Paul, perhaps you should make it known that you wish to serve on the CCDC board. That’s a public board and even now you have a right to participate in meetings even if you do not have a place on the board. You can change the status quo. It’s a democracy, right?

    Complaints like this make it hard for me to understand low voter turnout in Idaho. Apathy, pure and simple. The low voter turnout suggests that people either don’t give a hoot about democracy any longer and don’t want to roll up their sleeves and go to work or they’ve given up on the process.

    Werner wrote:

    “…I believe the threshold to warrant CCDC involvement in public improvement projects should be very high.”

    I agree with you on this point, Werner! 100%!

    “This was not a charity case.”

    No, but then why did such a choice piece of property sit there — as a gaping hole — for 24 — yes 24 — years??? How is the lack of any significant property tax revenue from that piece of property helping our community? I see this as a cost that also has to be factored into the equation. That piece of ground has been an opportunity cost to Boise for 24 years.

    On the other hand, your general comments do have me looking at this project more closely.

    My question is this:

    What are the specific public improvements being funded by tax increment financing (TIF) at 8TH AND MAIN? The diagram here…

    …suggests that there will be ***private*** parking stalls in this new structure! That’s where I’m concerned. The documents says: 183 “reserved private parking stalls.”

    Because the primary reason for tax increment financing (TIF) is to provide money for expensive PUBLIC parking structures.

    But the floor plans for this building suggest there won’t be any additional public parking. That begs the question: WHAT ARE THE PUBLIC IMPROVEMENTS?

    AND… are those PUBLIC improvements QUANTIFIED in dollar terms in any of the public documents???

    I think that’s what we should be attempting to find out. Does anybody know the answer to this question?

  22. Sorry, Paul. I meant to type “Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency” (CEURA) board as you are talking about Caldwell’s agency. Have you thought about serving on that board?

    EDITOR NOTE–His chances of an appointment are about as good as Hank Williams Jr. visiting Israel aboard AF-one with Obama.

  23. Here are the board members of the Caldwell East Urban Renewal Agency (CEURA):

    Here are the board members of the Capital City Development Corporation (CCDC):

    As far as I can tell, these are not people who are engaged in any “conspiracy.”

    They seem to be fairly reasonable individuals who would be willing to listen to public input.

    If anybody disagrees, then I think there is an option: Make it known that you wish to serve on the board.

  24. Interesting news from Capital City Development Corporation, Boise’s public urban renewal agency:

    Anthony Lyons now leads Boise’s CCDC as Executive Director! He replaces Phil Kushlan who retired in July. Here’s the news release:

    He appears to have decent credentials on paper.

    EDITOR NOTE–At $140,000 to supervise a staff of less than a dozen he should have “good credentials.” Kushlan is still making over a hundred grand with no duties, production schedule, or hours.

  25. Dave Frazier wrote:

    “EDITOR NOTE–His chances of an appointment are about as good as Hank Williams Jr. visiting Israel aboard AF-one with Obama.”

    I do not agree with that, Dave. These boards often have vacancies. And if you or Paul or any citizen in the community has a desire to make change, then all you have to do is show how your point-of-view represents a significant constituency in the community.

    Anybody who can demonstrate that he/she represents a constituency that is not being represented can change that.

    That’s democracy. Real democracy is self-organizing.

  26. The new executive director for Boise’s urban renewal agency is from Gainesville, Florida where he has led the Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency:

  27. Also, some interesting information on this Web site about downtown Boise…

    …and this site appears to have been done by the Downtown Boise Association. Some interesting stuff there about housing in downtown Boise. The photographs look nice. Did you take those, Dave?

    Hey, we may disagree on a few points, but — hey — look at those pictures. We have a nice looking city, don’t you agree? I think we’re lucky. I’ve traveled to a lot of other cities and they don’t have the amenities that we have. I love the parks, the Greenbelt, in particular, and just the view of the foothills and the river.

  28. Paul wrote:

    “Try giving voters some credit for deciding which projects they wish to fund instead of rationalizing TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION.”

    Then why the onerous supermajority restriction? What’s the matter, voters can’t be trusted?

    And the argument that some property owners don’t live here, therefore the supermajority requirement— is absurd. So what if they don’t live here? If they don’t live here then they don’t get to vote. Simple. Are you suggesting they didn’t know they couldn’t vote in local bond elections and they were blindsided?

    From my perspective, absentee landlords cause more problems and their properties consume more services, to use the Guardian phraseology.

    As I’ve pointed out many times— I pay more property taxes per sq. ft. than the Goodman Oil Property, even though I’m in the same neighborhood yet I have lesser zoning and no river frontage nor direct Greenbelt access.

    How is this fair? Not one of you have ever answered that question.

    This is why we need Urban Renewal, else properties like Goodman Oil will sit there effectively off the tax rolls for decades. Technically we are subsidizing them for their land banking efforts.

    So choose your poison wisely— subsidize a good looking downtown that attracts business or subsidize an eyesore that attracts graffiti taggers.

    EDITOR NOTE–I too see no problem with the 2/3 majority, because in addition to the “absentee land owners,” there are plenty of commercial properties that get NO VOTES. In theory you and your neighbors with $300,000 worth of assessed value could impose taxes or divert taxes on Millions of dollars in assessed value. It isn’t urban renewal that we oppose, it is the diversion of taxes and the public debt with no vote or oversight. Take away the TIF and most folks wouldn’t complain–that is how urban renewal was supposed to work…improve the area to raise the value and tax revenues. Instead the taxes go to fund banks and developers to the tune of $4 million in the case of the Hole.

  29. It appears the link that shows Caldwell’s East Urban Renewal Agency (CEURA) board is, in reality, here:

    Elway Wait: Chairman
    Leona Fouts
    Rob Hopper
    Cathy Alder
    Theresa Hardin

    The link I posted earlier linked to the board of the Caldwell Economic Development Council. They work together, but it appears they are two separate governing boards.

  30. And furthermore, when it comes to West Downtown, the Broadway-Chinden Connector completed in 1992 was a gov’t funded project which diverted traffic from Fairview/Main. Thus the flight of businesses from Fairview/Main to the suburbs. Tens of thousands have benefitted from the Broadway-Chinden Connector but I contend the job was left incomplete.

    List of closed or relocated businesses: Rice Ford, Roundtree Chevrolet, Thriftway Lumber, Koppels Browseville and I’m probably leaving out a few.

    The decay of Fairview/Main is partly due to a gov’t project therefore gov’t has a responsibility to mitigate. For Pete’s sake, at the River Rec Park P&Z hearing last Monday, P&Z demanded Boise Parks mitigate every last tree they remove.

    So why doesn’t a traffic diverting road project have to mitigate for lost business?

    Properties in West Downtown have been paying property taxes for decades yet until the River Rec Park, there has been no public expenditure for decades in West Downtown except for chip sealing and some sidewalk repair. And most of the River Park is funded by private donations.

    What I’m trying to point out, is that it’s a bit more complex than simply targeting highly visible CCDC and URDs.

  31. Jerry, I have expressed interest in serving on the CEURA board but it is a closed shop with the “Chairman For Life”, Mr. Eljay Waite (also city finance director) calling all the shots with Mayor Nancolas in the room others never get to visit. The current board is a collection of bobble heads who approve virtually every item suggested by the Mayor and Mr. Waite. I would also add here that there have been zero NO votes on Caldwell’s City Council in over 18 months.

    CEURA will have spent nearly $72MM when the the agency sunsets in 2014 and we now have an even more blighted downtown(with a nice 5 block park addition) with less business and commerce downtown than we had before Urban Renewal was started. The board took a $140k study and ignored virtually every recommendation contained in the Leland Report. The YMCA in Caldwell got over $10MM, TVCC and out of state community college got nearly $10MM (and is a redundant effort to College of Western Idaho), Memberships to the YMCA for CEURA board members paid with Mayor Nancolas getting a full family membership on the taxpayer dime. All of this is my beef with CEURA for starters. I could go on with more but Dave likes folks to keep stuff short and to the point.

  32. You’re right: It’s “ElJay Wait” and not “Elway Wait” as I typed it earlier. I’m not terribly familiar with the Caldwell urban renewal efforts, but it seems to me that brighter days are ahead for Caldwell and Nampa as they continue to make improvements. They do have some great community building blocks such as Northwest Nazarene University and the College of Idaho. Those schools both seem to offer some great benefits to the local communities. When I think about the future, I feel pretty optimistic, in spite of the current economic troubles. Our communities have many problems, but also many strengths.

  33. boisecynic,

    You’re making some decent and interesting points, in my mind.

    I’ve often wondered about that Goodman Oil property. I’ve noticed what appear to be very large tanks located on that site (when I walk on the Greenbelt.)

    What did those tanks contain??? Surely, they’re not still being used, are they? It’s a very curious site. I’ve wondered if there might be some environmental issues there. It’s very close to the Boise River.

  34. The lowdown on the Goodman property at 2850 W. Fletcher, Boise.

  35. Guardian;

    “… It isn’t urban renewal that we oppose, it is the diversion of taxes and the public debt with no vote or oversight. Take away the TIF and most folks wouldn’t complain…”

    I see your point about TIF. I really do. But what’s the alternative?

    Remember, local gov’t has seriously intervened in the free market by creating Planning and Zoning ordinances. All the lots in the Fairview/Main corridor were carved up before Boise had a zoning department. New codes stipulate all kinds of things including parking and storm water mitigation. Most lots in the Fairview/Main corridor are too small to meet newer zoning requirements.

    West Downtown properties simply can’t compete with larger cheaper suburban properties due to gov’t intervention. I’m asserting that many/most in the greater Boise area have benefitted from planning and zoning. But it’s a double edged sword which has also caused injury and therefore gov’t (we the people) is liable.

    I see URDs as a temporary reversible secession. Surely fiscal conservatives can see the merits of this. Again, I’m not aware of any alternative to redeveloping older urban areas.

    EDITOR NOTE–I wish we had an answer. The real cause of the blight is a series of interventions by our city councilors. They purchased the 25th & Fairview property illegally for urban renewal parking downtown. They purchased 2900 for a police building that was unconstitutional, they traded 25th to a private hospital that never happened…all the while approving massive urban sprawl along Fairview for the car dealers. Now they want to shift taxes to fix what THEY broke! It gets scary when you and I come closer to agreeing doesn’t it?

  36. It took time to find, but here’s the PDF document that lists the public improvements associated with this proposed fix for downtown Boise’s “hole.”

    (Listed on page 231 of the 345-page PDF document)

    Public improvements:

    (a) Remediation of the Site to protect public infrastructure and to integrate the Site with existing public improvements adjacent to the Site is anticipated to cost Two Million Six Hundred Thousand and No Dollars ($2,600,000) (“Site Remediation”).

    (b) The relocation and reconnection of certain Idaho Power systems is anticipated to cost Four Hundred Thousand and No Dollars ($400,000) (“Relocated Utilities”).

    (c) Those impact fees assessed by the Ada County Highway District for the construction of certain system improvements anticipated to cost One Million Dollars ($1,000,000) (“Impact Fees”).

    (d) The cost of those public improvements and expenses related to improving Eighth Street, Main Street or other public areas and right of way in the immediate vicinity of the Site and the Development (“Streetscape Improvements”).

    (e) Agency and Participant agree to identify other costs incurred by Participant legally eligible for reimbursement by Agency as public improvements throughout the course of construction of the Development (“Additional Eligible Public Improvements”).

    In addition, on page 233 of the 345-page PDF document, there is the following stipulation:

    “Agency shall participate in the Development by reimbursing the Participant Advance (“Agency Contribution”) subject to the next sentence. The Agency Contribution shall be Four Million and No Dollars ($4,000,000) provided, further, that if the total actual costs of the Agency Funded Public Improvements are less than $4,000,000 then the Agency Contribution shall be the actual cost of the Agency Funded Public Improvements. The total of the Agency Contribution for the Agency Funded Public Improvements shall not exceed $4,000,000.”

    It seems the public improvements that are listed could be construed as “reasonable” public costs — given the size and scope of the project and considering the private investment that is being made by the private participants.

    On the other hand, I wonder if Eastman and Capitol Terrace parking structures are sufficient to handle the additional public parking that might be associated with this project. Surely they’ve crunched the numbers… ?

    EDITOR NOTE–We have previously posted this information. We appreciate the information, but please either summarize or offer readers a link. Comments are getting much longer than the original stories.

  37. Actually, with great respect, Dave, I would point out that while one of our fellow readers/participants *did* list/summarize the public improvements, it did not appear to me that anybody provided a link to the officially-published documents nor did anybody appear to provide a specific page number to help save time for readers wanting to study the official public documents. That’s why I provided that information. You’re right, however, I probably could’ve left out my own list since that was already provided earlier. But I agree that a link to the official public documents is helpful.

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