Boise River Park

ALBERTSON FOUNDATION MAKES MAJOR DONATION TO RIVER RECREATION PARK

albertsonMayor David Bieter today announced a major contribution by the J.A. & Kathryn Albertson Foundation to fund the upcoming Ray Neef MD River Recreation Park. The two-part donation consists of a direct $750,000 grant to the new facility, with an additional pledge of $650,000 in matching funds for all community donations up to that amount received by Feb. 1, 2011.
 
“The Ray Neef MD River Recreation Park is a rare opportunity to invest in a project that will have far-reaching benefits to our economy, our citizens and our environment,” said Jamie MacMillan, executive director of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation. “By all projections, the new park will boost tourism, add jobs, improve the Boise River and its wildlife habitat, and offer exciting new recreational choices to young and old alike. It couldn’t come at a better time. The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation is proud to be among the project’s supporters.”
 
“This gift is another example of the Albertson Foundation’s strong commitment to Idaho and its future,” Mayor Bieter said. “I encourage all residents interested in strengthening our economy to take advantage of the foundation’s generous matching offer and donate what they can by February 1. The sooner the park can be built, the sooner Boise can enjoy the park’s significant economic benefits.”
 
If the full matching grant is met, the Albertson Foundation donation would total $1.4 million, or half of the remaining $2.8 million cost for Phase One of the park. Additional funding would come from the City of Boise ($750,000) and the community donation portion of the matching grant ($650,000). If the Feb. 1, 2011 deadline is met, construction of Phase I of the park could be completed by spring 2012, allowing the project to be built in a favorable construction bid environment.  Total cost of Phase One is budgeted at $3.8 million, with $1 million already expended on design, engineering and site preparations.
Located on the Boise River between Main Street and Veterans Memorial Park, the river park will generate economic development and provide a world-class recreational experience in the heart of Boise. The project will also improve the fish habitat and riparian area in a section of river that was channelized during the mid-1900s.
 
Features will include in-river drops, chutes and boulder obstacles as well as riverbank seating areas and Greenbelt improvements. Several shared amenities will also benefit the adjacent Esther Simplot Park, including roads, parking lots, and a shelter/changing area.
 
The river park is expected to fuel economic development citywide, in addition to serving as a catalyst for redevelopment in the 30th Street area. River parks have proven successful in other communities. A whitewater park in Golden, Colorado contributes an estimated $2 million annually to the city’s economy. A river recreation park in Vail contributes $1.8 million and a park in Breckenridge $1.4 million per year.
 
To make a donation or learn more about the fundraising effort, see Boise River Park.

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