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River Plans


Boise is one step closer to actually building the much-anticipated whitewater park on the Boise River.

Oh, excuse us, the Boise River Recreation Park, as the city is billing it to apparently not exclude anyone by using the word "whitewater."

The city awarded a $279,150 contract to the Denver-based McLaughlin Whitewater Design Group to draw up the final plans for the river play area off 27th Street.

McLaughlin is one of only a handful of companies that specialize in river design in the United States, and designed the 1996 Olympic whitewater course on the Ocoee River in Tennessee.

The group is also responsible for the hydroelectric/recreation area/fish ladder on the Payette River near Horseshoe Bend and is working on a river park in Hailey.

Rick McLaughlin, vice president of the company, told BW that the site of the whitewater park is one that it had actually looked at several years ago.

In addition to having the support of the city, he said it also has the necessary water supply, elevation drop and accessibility.

"Everyone wants a whitewater course in their back yard," he said. "There's a lot of good whitewater in the county, but it's hard to get to. The thing about man-made whitewater is that it's accessible."

McLaughlin has finished primary plans for the site and is working on finalizing the design. Once construction has started, representatives will check to make sure everything is going according to plans.

The city has already committed $750,000 to the project, but private donations will need to come up with at least half of the $4 million price tag for the park.

The public can check out the initial design at 6:30 p.m. on April 2 at Whittier Elementary School, 301 N. 29th St.