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Meridian and Kuna

These days both Meridian and Kuna are feeling some transportation growing pains as road construction crews struggle to keep up with the Treasure Valley's population. But a few decades ago, the success of both towns was based on some very different forms of transit.

More than a century ago, Meridian was incorporated with a population of 200, and the small village quickly became a hub of the state's dairy industry. Thanks in part to the electric railway that connected the valley until 1928, farmers and dairymen were able to easily ship their goods to market. While most of the dairies, orchards and creameries are now gone, the city still marks its rural heritage with the annual Meridian Dairy Days festival.

The old Challenge Butter creamery tower was torn down to make room for a new Meridian City Hall (33 E. Broadway Ave.) several years ago. It was a sign of the times for Meridian, which saw its population double between 2000 and 2007.

The town was named for the main survey meridian used to map out the state that runs through the middle of town. That center point is still the center of the community, with attractions like summer stock car racing at Meridian Speedway (335 S. Main St.) and the landmark yellow water tower. The area is also home to the Idaho State Police headquarters (700 S. Stratford Dr.).

Meridian fancies itself a family-friendly sort of place, and its acres and acres of planned communities attest to the popularity of the 'burb. The city's summer community movie nights in Settlers Park (3245 N. Meridian Road) offer families a free, family-friendly outdoor flick. The park is also home to one seriously impressive playground.

In recent years, Kuna has been transforming into a family sort of place as well, with more housing developments replacing farm fields. When the town was founded, it was the end of the railway line for miners going to or from Silver City in the hills south of the Treasure Valley.

Agriculture has traditionally been the backbone of the area, although more families are living in Kuna and commuting to work elsewhere in the valley.

And while the reputation may be child friendly, the town is also known for one heck of a pub crawl as people make their way down Main Street, checking out bars that haven't changed in decades.

Still others are likely to be focused on the Indian Creek BMX dirt bike track on the west end of town on Avenue E or the popular skateboard park in Kuna City Park (Main Street and Avenue A). The Saturday Kuna Farmers Market (353 Ave. E) throughout the summer is also a big draw.

—Deanna Darr

Vital Statistics

Meridian

Meridian is where a nice family can get a nice house at a nice price. Not quite Pleasantville, but not far off either.

Kuna

Kuna High School students are known as the Kavemen after the nearby underground lava tunnel known as the Kuna Caves. Although there is an entrance to the caves, it's unofficially off limits.