by Andrew Crisp
UPDATE: 10:20 a.m.
Doug Holloway, Boise Parks and Recreation director, called the forthcoming purchase of 154 acres of Foothills land a "great win" for the city.
"We had no access through that area to get to Polecat Gulch, so this was a priority area," he said.
The parcel was originally owned by a private developer before it returned to the Bank of the Cascades possession and became a strong candidate for preservation, according to Holloway. After the sale is completed, the city will reach out to the nearby neighborhood and consider creating trails and trailheads through the property.
The sale marks the first Foothills purchase since a July deal with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game exchanged the Hammer Flat property for more than $4 million, and replenished the levy fund.
After the transaction is completed with Bank of the Cascades, the coffers will still hold $3.7 million for future property acquisition.
"There are a number of pieces of ground that are available in the Foothills that the city will continue to look at," said Holloway. "We don’t have a site specifically set aside that we’re looking at."
Original Post: 9:20 a.m.
When the Boise City Council meets Dec. 11, lawmakers will consider the purchase of open space in Northwest Boise, which if finalized would add 154 acres to the more than 10,000 acres of Foothills already protected in the Treasure Valley.
Adjacent to Collister Drive, the parcel would provide trail access from existing public lands to the Polecat Gulch Reserve, and according to the city, would protect populations of Aase's Onion.
Negotiations with landowner Bank of the Cascades identified costs of $500,000 for the land, and would be purchased with Foothills Serial Levy funds. The two-year serial levy generated $10 million when passed in 2001, and $3.7 million remain in the fund more than 10 years later.
According to an announcement this morning from Boise Mayor Dave Bieter's office, the City Council and Foothills Conservation Advisory Committee identified the property as the No. 1 priority for acquisition.