No Need For Urban Renewal On Vista

With the increasing push to expand the reach of Boise’s Capital City Development Corp. (CCDC) to include the “Vista corridor,” we took a closer look at the commercial properties which are targeted for urban renewal designation.

One of the deciding factors to include an area into the urban renewal fold is BLIGHT. It appears to the GUARDIAN one of those expensive consultant studies is the basis for the desire to go after the Vista neighborhood commercial property.

In a 2015 document, the Urban Land Institute prefaced its report thusly: “Vista Avenue exemplifies a typical strip commercial street, with auto-oriented retail, bars, pawn shops, a mix of converted and dilapidated housing, and very few pedestrian facilities. This segment of the corridor bifurcates the Vista Neighborhood, which has some of the lowest livability indicators (income, single family home value, etc.) in the city, and includes a mix of single and multi-family housing. Due to the function of this corridor as a gateway to the city and the lack of relationship to the surrounding neighborhoods, there is a lot of opportunity to improve the uses and infrastructure along Vista Avenue to make it more attractive to visitors, while simultaneously improving the health and well-being of residents who rely on the corridor as part of their daily lives.”

A similar case could easily be made for Hyde Park in the North End. “Buildings are old, in need of repair. Thirteenth Street is narrow with people wandering dangerously into traffic, diners bring dogs to the restaurants, parking is limited, bars and alcohol vendors are just a few blocks from schools.”

The historic value of Vista Village is profound. It is the first shopping center in Idaho and recently underwent a multi-million dollar facelift and remodel–all at the expense of the owners with no subsidy. Unlike properties at the Town Square Mall and downtown Boise, Vista Village has a 100% occupancy.

New commercial outlets abound along Vista including two modern medical speciality facilities, four financial institutions, ethnic food outlets, a jeweler with more than half a century of service to the area, and several national lodging facilities.

Also along Vista one can find a modern super market, a veterinarian, legal offices, three pharmacies, a florist, travel agent, and much more.

Rather than cater to visitors as the “gateway to the city,” we feel it is time for City Hall to understand the Vista neighborhood is a culturally diverse area with most services only a few blocks from the residents who patronize them.

Any “blight” or poverty is the direct result of city fathers and mothers using the area as a dumping ground for low income housing, home for sex offenders, and a place to jam as many people as possible into modern tenements and skinny houses under the guise of “increased density.”

As we see it, there is little justification in designating the commercial properties along Vista as part of an urban renewal area. Treat them fairly and stop dumping on Vista residents and the area will continue to evolve into the vibrant neighborhood it deserves to be.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Little Red Book
    Apr 13, 2019, 11:20 pm

    The owners of Vista Village are obviously capitalists and must be stopped from making any profit. The new world order demands it! AOC says profits cause global warming! Man of the People TeamDave swoops to the rescue with hugely expensive plans drawn up by some ‘expert’ who’s never been to Idaho. TeamDave knows what’s best for us. They will turn the entire city into their own self-styled Magic Kingdom with a Disney circulating train to boot. It will be expensive and painful, but our grandchildren will bow and thank his towering statue one day.

    Did live on the Bench. Got tired of TeamDave supporters thieving. Done with impunity, as if it’s their right. Yes, true, most trouble is a direct result of the government funded under performers that the city transplanted there. Sometimes in very high concentration such as the city owned hotel 2717 Vista. Gee talk about causing blight in a neighborhood.

    Truly sicko ans shameful the way the Idaho Stalesman prints extremely biased uninformative outright lies and general bullcrap favoring anything Dear Leader wants.

  2. Mayor Bieter & the City Council’s “Green New Deal”: GIVE US PLENTY OF GREEN, AND WE’LL TAKE CARE OF EVERYTHING.

    Thanks for this viewpoint, Dave. Our overlords (at all levels of government) seem to be convinced that our very survival depends on their taking care of us, and of course collecting as much of our money as possible. (Yeah, I know – they’re just being “kind” to us…)

    We somehow survived the dark days before the current administration, and some of us still believe “small government is good government.”

  3. Heinrich Wiebe
    Apr 14, 2019, 9:00 am

    “It is because I say it is…”

    2014 ULI awarded the Idaho ULI with a grant to produce Vista Healthy Corridor report. A pivotal piece in this report is defining the land use; on page 31. The “FACTS” listed, are used all over the place (LAND USE: Some single family housing, single story strip commercial, car and tire dealers, auto repair shops, fast food, drive-ins, bars, pawnshops, and adult entertainment venues). These “facts” are categorically and factually wrong. My drilling into this egregious error goes to the original application submitted by Diane Kushlan (former ULI coordinator). She’s also the wife of former CCDC Director Phil Kushlan. My phone call with Diane sometime in April 2018 produced her admission that she picked these “FACTS” in order to win the grant. She had no answer for why she neglected to include all the other land uses happening on the Vista Corridor (GROCERY, FLOORING, JEWELRY, FLORAL, PHARMACY, DINING, BANKING, SHIPPING, POSTAL, MEDICAL, HOTEL, RETAIL RECREATIONAL EQUIPMENT, VETERINARY, SALON, LEGAL, ACCOUNTING…).

    As the VNA President, after our chat, I left her with the following request via email:
    Would you do me a couple favors?
    Since the Land Use stated in the Quick facts is wrong, would you send me one that’s accurate?
    Since the ULI documents and briefing book don’t refer to the Vista Neighborhood Plan, would you write an explanation as to why?

    Needless to say, I never heard back from her. And the Vista Corridor Steering Committee refused to address this either.

    As a result, the VNA does not participate with the the Vista Corridor Steering Committee. Yes, there’s room for improvement and I whole heartly want to see it. But at what cost? Who decides? Based on what “facts”?

  4. Eamonn Harter
    Apr 14, 2019, 10:33 am

    What pet project does Team Dave want to tax increment finance in this neighborhood, pray tell? Perhaps a monorail from the airport direct to City Hall? Suprise us, Mr. Bieter.

  5. Good one, Guardian!

    To the point of earlier — the URD bill that passed is not the answer. The legislature should have put a stop to URDs all together. To pass a bill that simply modifies the money use, is to ‘effectively agree’ with the concept- even though barely a few of the supporters of that bill would agree with URDs in general.

    Vista and The Bench is in whatever ‘decreased’ condition due to the city using too much tax base in downtown while ignoring the rest of the city.
    Downtown has replaced perfectly good sidewalks with fresh bricks, while routes to schools in the Vista area have NO sidewalks.

    The money has been misused in downtown at the expense of other areas.
    The ULI report should’ve been title “URDs have Failed the Rest of the City” (and maybe even downtown too, given the overcrowdedness and animosity of some toward DT).

  6. There definitely needs to be more housing for low income families, and that includes the elderly. Stop catering to people that keep flocking here from out of state. The cost of living is outrageous, because people here know that these out of state people have tons of money. We can’t keep businesses here as it is, but we just keep on building. There’s so many empty commercial properties as is. Use those and quit building more and new crap!

  7. Seems like our elected public servants, Dave Bieter and his Master Bieters work harder for those who might move to Boise than their constituents? Vista is one the few roads that is a direct route into the downtown core, has residences and businesses! There is a lot of traffic, out of townees and locals, on Vista and BPD can’t even enforce the rules of the road?
    I find it interesting that Dave Bieter made a statement about getting the land swap with T&L trucking for city property back on the tax role! A week after Dave’s decision to purchase property from Maverick on the corner of Orchard and Franklin TAKING it OFF the tax role?? Couldn’t Maverick sell the property to someone in the private sector?
    Property in the hands of government, non profits, schools and CCDC are off the TAX role.
    One of the reasons ACHD wanted to raise fees could be based on less income from property taxes while still taking care of the roads around these properties, like the Lucky Dog!

  8. More of that group think
    Apr 14, 2019, 2:21 pm

    First of all, I think people who have thought through the mechanics of URD’s agree that tax money is diverted from other needs to prop up the needs of a developer to develop. And then after paying back all the bond money, plus interest, that to continue, CCDC must do it again. It is for the continuance of CCDC more than it is to eliminate blight or renew infrastructure.

    Reasonable people would also agree that there is a definition of blight and that few areas of Boise continue to show blight. It is a ruse to create these factual disputes and then make the pubic swallow.

    How about this. The city with all of the resources that the taxpayers provide could sit down and listen to the people who live and work on the bench, and let us explain to them what type of problems we have. Problems that are self-evident, and problems that are dynamic. Self-evident: lack of sidewalks, trash in yards, broken down vehicles, trailers, and yards that need cleaned up. Also fresh vegetation, and shade, removal of illegal lean to’s, shanty’s and encroachments into setbacks. Dynamic: speeding vehicles, badly marked roads, personalities that do not care or that have given up trying to help the neighborhoods look better, smell better, and be safer. Police for the theives and vandals, and that they show a presence. Dispersing the sex offenders to other areas of town, too. Maintained alleys. These are the view of this writer. Please offer bench experience if you will.

    And then what if, a pretty big what if, the city would say, “Ok, we see it and we see the effects. We are no longer going too agree to ignore it.
    These are the things we are going to address.” And then quit with the phony baloney of kindness and livability, and make some simple action plans, based on the input received, to solve problems. And then the humbleness to admit that they have left so many things undone and been so complacent that they were a catalyst in the creation of these problems.

    But they are like defiant children. The more you ask them not to do something, the tighter they cling to each other and want to do it. What if they tried to gain favor with those on the bench instead of among their clique of sheep that go along to get along, and get recognition of popularity from their clique.

    Well that would be my essay on the failure to recognize what creates community.

  9. It looks like the Boise Redevelopment Agency AKA CCDC is looking for a solution and then a problem. The management of CCDC lives on a 20 year cycle. After 20 years, they really need to find somewhere else to stay employed on the government dollar. Build a baseball stadium for a 90 day team. Get your names on the Brass Plaque.Instead of overbuilding like Northwest Boise is doing with hundreds (thousands) of new apartments, has anyone noticed that the Vista Neighborhood is full of single family owner occupied residences? The American Dream since WWII.

  10. More of that group think
    Apr 15, 2019, 7:09 am

    BPD is reporting three people shot last night at the area of Palouse and Owyhee. This is one of those dynamic problems.

    This is also the area of the middle of the night door ringer.

    What is happening at the neighbors? Why does it continue to happen? On. The. Bench.

  11. They should take out the Vista corridor and focus on the area around the tank farm.

  12. More of that group think
    Apr 17, 2019, 7:17 pm

    Shouldn’t some Superfund or EPA type agency deal with the tank farm? Is there someone out there that knows the answer to such a massive pollution site?

    EDITOR NOTE–It should be cleaned up and moved at expense of the owners and Boise taxpayers shouldn’t have to own it. You are correct about potential clean up site.

  13. As a long time resident of the Vista corridor area, I can stipulate that IF there were a properly functioning lending system for would-be business startups to actually begin exciting and useful ventures, there would be no need for any URDs. I am now convinced that these government takeovers of commercial zones are caused by the lack of sufficient capital to the private sector for vibrant entrepreneurship to develop. By hamstringing small business with BS rules and saddling with enormous debts, the Stalinist city councils allow the blight to come forth, furnishing the excuse for the takeovers and then the Big Boyz $$ come in to turn the blight into downtown Portland whacko shops like the sicko Cock n Balls donut store (really…look it up).

    If you want an education about how real Free Markets are attacked and how Socialism in this nation took root, read Wayne Jett’s Fruits of Graft.

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