City Government

Foothills Levy Spending Update

The recent purchase of 325 acres of foothill land by Boise City from the family of Gov. Brad Little prompted one GUARDIAN reader to do a little research on the activities of the committee entrusted to spend the $10,000,000 levy. Here are some results of their examination.

The (Little) parcel is not within the current Boise City limits but is partially within the designated boundary of Boise’s Area of Impact. And the ballot language did not specify the funds could only be used within the City limits, so funds have already been spent outside of the City limits.

The City website page for Levy Projects shows the following:

$40,000 – Highway 21 Wildlife Overpass
The project proposes construction of a wildlife overpass at Cerivdae Peak, MP 19.3 on State Highway 21. The City is partnering with the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation (IFWF) on behalf of Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), Idaho Transportation Department D3 (ITD) and many others to fund this project. This will be Idaho’s 1st wildlife overpass project and since 2016, 77 elk and deer have died due to collisions in the area where the wildlife overpass is proposed. The total expected cost of the project is approximately $3 million. The City’s contribution is up to $40,000. The project is currently in the design phase with construction expected to occur in 2022.

Nov. 1, 2018 – OSCWAC recommend approval to Council
Jan. 29, 2019 – Work Session – reviewed project
Feb. 5, 2019 – Work Session – Council approved project

$200,000 – Daylighting of Cottonwood Creek (running the stream above ground)
This project was submitted by the Ted Trueblood Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Inc. It seeks to daylight about 440 feet of Cottonwood Creek near Julia Davis Park. The creek currently flows through a pipe underground. This daylighting project will create more than 1/3 acre of riparian habitat and wetland habitat. The process will enhance fish habitat and improve the ecological function of this tributary of the Boise River. This project is a cooperative effort with the Boise River Enhancement Network (BREN) and the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley. Levy funds will be used to match other grant dollars to complete the project.

$440,270 – Intermountain Bird Observatory trail development
This project, which was submitted by the Boise State University Intermountain Bird Observatory (IBO), proposes improvements to 20 acres of riparian habitat located downstream of the Diversion Dam and between the Boise River and Warm Springs Avenue.
Project managers plan to use levy funding to build bridges and construct pathways that would reduce erosion and sediment loading into the Boise River.

The plan includes restoring a natural side channel of the river to improve fish and wildlife habitat, developing an interpretive trail system, spanning wetlands with raised boardwalks to protect critical habitat, constructing wildlife viewing blinds, restoring upland habitats, and creating pollinator gardens.

Amount of Open Space and Clean Water levy funding approved for this project (with conditions): $440,270

IBO has launched a capital campaign to raise $1.5 million for the overall project.

For both the Creek and Bird projects:
Jan. 4, 2018 – OSCWAC recommend approval of both projects to Council
Feb. 27, 2018 – Regular Council Meeting – Approved both recommendations

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Very interesting. So, have the purchases been appropriate? And, are they serving the public interest of those who paid?

  2. Levy Priorities
    Jul 25, 2020, 12:41 pm

    As usual, the money is being spent in the east end and foothills, with little to nothing going outside those bounds, even though all Boise taxpayers pay for this and the prior $10 million fund.

    The $6 million shown in the FY 2021 budget should be allocated to lowland (flat) open space areas south of the river, so that all taxpayers receive value by having access to preserved lands close by. This would greatly improve overall access to lowland natural areas that people of all ages and abilities can access, enjoy and interact with nature. Not everyone can hoof it up the foothills.

  3. Appropriate Spending
    Jul 25, 2020, 12:44 pm

    The March Meeting for the Advisory Committee for this fund shows the receipt and review of an application to fund a flood plain study for a private developer. Granted no action has been taken on this application, this would be coloring way outside of the lines of the intent of this fund.

  4. Dave Kangas
    Jul 25, 2020, 4:10 pm

    It appears fewer parcels are up for purchase other than development?? Also look like more people needs to be submitting proposals!

  5. David Klinger
    Aug 7, 2020, 10:06 am

    The “daylighting” of Cottonwood Creek through the east side of Julia Davis Park makes it all the more curious why the City of Boise persists in its plan to move “The Cabin” into the same corner of the park, perilously close to the Boise River floodplain … and at a projected cost of $650,000. The eviction of “The Cabin” from its existing historic site to the “daylighting” site came as a surprise to the wetlands people. It raises the larger question of just how we are treating Julia Davis Park — as precious and vital open space in our rapidly-filling urban downtown core, or as an attic for odd memorials, unwanted or inconvenient buildings, and unplanned commitments of space that diminish the park’s overall master plan.

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