Umbrellas and cameras were the order of the day June 25 as a group Boise citizens got the first of multiple opportunities to quiz planners and builders of one of Boise's most visible projects—Jack's Urban Meeting Place or JUMP.
“I am here to pretty much answer any questions you folks might have about the project and how it is coming along,” construction manager Dan Drinkward told the first group of spectators gathered around on a make-shift bleacher built out of old tractor seats as midday traffic buzzed by on 9th and Front Streets.
Drinkward’s appearance was the first of a series of monthly meetings, aptly titled Tractor Seat Talks, geared to address public questions and concerns regarding the massive construction project.
“We will have one a month, the last Tuesday of the month through October, “ JUMP community engagement director Kathy O’Neill said.
Drinkward fielded several questions about the structure, explaining some obstacles the 75 construction personnel faced when beginning their initial work, including pumping thousands of gallons of groundwater out of the site in order to complete the underground parking garage that will accompany the building.
“Those of you that know Boise know that the groundwater in this area is very close to where we are standing right now,” Drinkward said. “So this garage is essentially underwater in its finished condition.
Attendee Lars Sandven, a retired school counselor, said he wanted to get a sense of JUMP's progress.
“Personally, I had a lot of questions about it, the challenges, the uniqueness of the structure,” Sandven told Boise Weekly. “I am aware of the planning obstacles we have run into and why it has taken so long. It was beyond the normal box structures we are used to here in Boise.”
Sandven accompanied Diane Ronayne, a freelance editor and photographer; they both expressed excitement about the opportunity an open community center of JUMP’s magnitude may bring for Boise citizens and visitors to the Treasure Valley.
“First of all, the fact that they even want to do something like this, this is totally different, it’s for the community, non-profits, artists, and all the people we are trying to attract to Boise," Ronayne said. “Basically, the family of J.R. Simplot is saying, ‘Hey, come here. Be with us. We are like you, we want to be creative.'”
According to Drinkward, the estimated timeline for JUMP's completion was still a year away.