- City of Boise
- Boise Mayor Dave Bieter called on Boiseans to support city plans for a sports park and possible F-35 mission at Gowen Field.
"Haven't we earned just a benefit of the doubt?" he asked a packed Egyptian Theatre.
Touting major past achievements like the filling of the "Boise Hole" with the Zions Bank Building, two Open Spaces levies and more recent benchmarks like breaking ground on the first housing-first facility for chronic homelessness and Esther Simplot Park, Bieter spoke about the stewardship that has helped Boise land top spots on numerous lists of the most livable American cities.
Bieter also voiced support for an F-35 fighter mission at Gowen Field, although there has been vocal pushback against City Council aspirations in that regard. Critics say the new fighter planes would be a major source of noise pollution, while city leaders argue the mission would be a massive boon to the local economy.
"I am convinced the future of the city depends on getting that 10th fighter mission," Bieter said.
The mayor also came out in favor of a city plan to construct a new sports park on the western end of downtown, which has met similar resistance. The $40 million complex is expected to spur an additional $60 million in nearby mixed-use development, and would be a site for everything from Boise Hawks baseball games and soccer matches to concerts and other public activities.
However, the proposed development hit public relations snags when a group of prominent business leaders announced their opposition, saying costs associated with the park would end up being shouldered by taxpayers. Other critics have said they like the idea of a sports park—just not in the location identified by the city. In October, Boise State University said it had not reached an agreement to become a tenant. Hailing the park as "a rare opportunity to shape what Boise will look like," Bieter said the spot selected by the city was in line with his livability goals for Boise.
"The enemy of vibrancy is sprawl," he said.
Earlier this year, at the opening of the new library at Bown Crossing, Bieter revealed plans to replace the current main library on Capitol Boulevard—a repurposed warehouse—with a $50 million to $60 million main branch tentatively set to open by 2020. The mayor teased the project again in the conclusion of his State of the City address.
"We need to focus on the mothership," he said.