The GUARDIAN has been doing some preliminary inquiries regarding the fate of downtown Boise after the Central District urban renewal project expires in 2017.
As it sits currently, no one can offer us a definitive answer to questions of ownership, management, and responsibility for certain Capital City Development Corp. properties.
For instance, CCDC owns 8th Street. It was vacated by the Ada County Highway District and is no longer a public street. It is privately owned from store front to store front between Bannock and Main. Despite that “parking lot” status, Boise parking Nazis continue to issue tickets at meters and enforce the private parking hours as though they were passed by the city council.
No one seems to know exactly who will own the Grove Plaza and the fountain area after CCDC’s district expires. Under current law it appears they are not allowed to expend funds outside a district and if a district no longer exists, who will own the real estate?
We have heard talk of splitting the Grove Plaza ownership among the Auditorium District, the Grove Hotel, and the Gardner Company in order to control access for protest groups that could offend guests at any of the venues. We strongly oppose that move because the area was purchased and improved with public funds and should remain public.
While some folks are enthralled with “private/public partnerships,” we urge caution with the deals. Developers like Gardner sound like great visionary planners when they include public transit centers and open spaces in their plans, but another view would see the taxpayers providing structure foundations and restricted access to public areas.