Used to be developers planned their subdivisions around golf courses.
These days, thanks to urban renewal, tax increment financing, special taxes like Auditorium Districts, and planning associations the developers have a virtual buffet of taxpayer-funded financing options surrounding sports stadiums.
Such is the case with the plans revealed today in the STATESMAN by Sven Berg. Boise Hawks owners want to build a new stadium and surround it with residential and commercial development.
Based on Berg’s story, it is obvious Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and his “Team Dave” have been secretly conspiring with commercial interests behind closed doors. The PROPER thing to do is simply offer up a bond proposal and see if folks want to pay for a new stadium. Ada County Highway District has plans to actually reduce Americana to two lanes in favor of a dedicated bike lane…good luck with that plan when you have the promised major events at a new stadium. We will all face more taxes for schools, sewers, etc.
There have been hints of a “downtown stadium deal” for several years, but Bieter refused to share any details with the citizens of Boise. He once said on KBOI radio that “he wasn’t ready to release details yet.” Not ready! Why hide plans from citizens? We are not aware of any public agendas at City Council, CCDC, or GBAD which discussed any proposals to go around the voters debt approval.
The proposed plans call for a ballpark in the vicinity of Americana and Shoreline. Some of the land is owned by St. Luke’s hospital which got a sweet deal when Jefferson was closed. They also owned land along 25th and Fairview which Boise City acquired in a questionable trade with a group of doctors who eventually were bought out by St. Luke’s. We find the city land swaps and speculative purchases distasteful at best.
It’s sad the mayor of the city cannot trust the citizens to know of plans which will have such a profound impact on the citizens–for better or worse. It is obvious his allegiance is to developers first.
Idaho’s constitution favored the citizens with control of the public purse, but the politicos have emasculated that document in favor of development without consent of the voters.
As Boise’s longest serving mayor, Dave Bieter’s legacy will be that of the “Guy who ruined a once delightful town” or “The progressive mayor who stimulated more growth than anyone else.” History will decide.
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