Dressed in a dark blue blazer and light blue shirt, Geoff Wardle, local counsel for the developer who wants to build a ball park on Americana looked remarkably like a baseball umpire and the crowd treated him like one.
They jeered him and challenged most of his statements, cutting him off in mid sentence when he attempted to explain “the history of baseball in Boise.”
The “neighborhood meeting” required when submitting building applications to the city was set in the corner of the old K-Mart parking lot on Americana which is now owned by St. Luke’s. With no sound system and little more than an architect’s rendering for a prop, Wardle stood for questions from local residents.
They taunted, shouted, waved protest signs, and generally treated him like an umpire who called strikes on their favorite batter. Like a good ump, Wardle remained calm.
At issue is a plan by Greenstone Properties to build a ball park and develop the area with assorted residential and commercial structures, using public funds from the city, the urban renewal agency, and even the auditorium district. None of those agencies has approved any funding, and there doesn’t seem to be much support from Boise citizens. A downtown stadium has been one of the many pet projects of Mayor Dave Bieter whose absence was noted with disdain by the crowd of about 100.
If built as planned, the project will avoid a vote of the citizens, call the Idaho Constitution into question, and remove the commercial and residential project from the tax rolls for 20 years along with a multi-million dollar stadium structure from the tax rolls for all eternity.
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