by Andrew Crisp
Meridian's newest and largest green space, the Julius M. Kleiner Memorial Park, located on 60 acres near the corner of Eagle Road and Fairview Avenue, was scheduled to open today, June 9, with a 6:30 a.m. hot air balloon launch.
The new park includes 1,300 trees, 3.3 miles of pathways, 700 parking spaces and 37 total acres of turf. Three 50-foot-tall obelisks will mark the boundaries, recycled from old railroad supports taken from the original Kleiner family farm, upon which the park was built.
A full day's worth of activities are planned to commemorate the park's opening, which broke ground in July 2010. The land and facilities were part of a $25 million donation from Eugene Kleiner in honor of his late father, with construction including numerous new facilities on the grounds.
Amenities include bocce ball courts, a sand volleyball pit, basketball courts, walking paths, a playground, two fishing ponds, picnic shelters, the new Meridian Senior Center, a bandshell and amphitheater.
As part of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game's free fishing day, Sportsman's Warehouse provide fishing poles for use in the new ponds.
With speakers including Lt. Gov. Brad Little, Meridian Mayor Tammy de Weerd and Kleiner Park Trust officials, the official ribbon-cutting ceremony begins at 1:00 p.m.