by Sam Alderman
Boise Mayor Dave Bieter took advantage of a brisk but sunny spring afternoon Thursday to use the Boise River as a backdrop to what he said was a "significant" announcement: the list of 26 community projects that will be funded through 2013 Neighborhood Reinvestment Grants.
Not far from the Mayor stood several black cottonwood saplings, not more than six inches tall, which are the result of a 2012 grant to fund increased biodiversity at the riverside.
“The Boise River is iconic," said Bieter. "It’s the frame of all our lives here, and it needs to continue to be a part of Boise for years to come.”
Joining Bieter were the replanting project's leader Kathleen Fahey, board member at Idaho Rivers United and Boise Arts and History director Terri Schorzman.
Many of the 2013 reinvestment grant recipients centered on the city's sesquicentennial. Boise 150-inspired projects, including specially-designed traffic boxes, oral histories, historical research of the Morris Hill neighborhood and a Central Bench spring festival, garnered more than $50,000.
“[The traffic box art] has struck a chord in the community," said Bieter. "We are so pleased to continue that and have it go even farther.”
Another grant awards $28,000 to help fund public art near roundabouts along the new Whitewater Park Boulevard in the city's Veterans Park neighborhood.
“That's an area that you’re going to be wowed by what you see coming," said Bieter.
In all, the total grant money awarded for 2013 recipients was just over $300,000.
Bieter then helped plant another black cottonwood along the bank of the river.