Thursday, June 14, 2007

Bieter Proposes Funding Whitewater Park, Homeless

Posted By on Thu, Jun 14, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Mayor Dave Bieter has some big plans, announcing earlier today several budget proposals he will be bringing to the city council, including: $750,000 for a new whitewater park; $2 million for a trust to address homeless issues; adding five new police officers and two new paramedic units among others.

The announcement, made against a backdrop of what will be the new whitewater park, offered the first indications of what the city may be focusing on as the 2008-2009 budgeting process moves forward.

If approved, the $750,000-pledge from the city would fund roughly half the start-up costs of building the much-anticipated whitewater park. The remaining half of the $1.5 million goal would come from private donations. The money would also go to start construction of the new 55-acre Esther Simplot Park, which is adjacent to the whitewater park off Pleasanton Road.

Bieter said he expects individuals and businesses will soon step forward to help fund the new park now that the city has made a substantial commitment to the project.

Also included in Bieter’s proposals is the addition of five new police officers and two paramedic teams, and a $2-million trust for homeless issues. As planned, the trust would provide a stable funding source that would not vary depending on changes in the city budget.

Bieter also proposed applying for a federal grant to relocate the Boise Petroleum Fuel Facilities, now located off Curtis Road near St. Alphonsus Hospital. He is also asking the city to begin rehabilitating, and eventually using the city-owned rail road tracks to provide freight delivery to industrial businesses.

Funds would also be allocated for building a third neighborhood recreation center—this one at Whitney Elementary School—as well a substantial contribution to Zoo Boise. Additionally, Bieter proposes giving roughly $5 million annually to ValleyRide to improve public transportation.

The proposed budge will go to the council next week, where the process of hammering out the details will begin. Michael Zuzel, spokesman for the mayor, said he expects the budget to be finalized by mid-August.

For more details on Bieter’s budget proposals, see next week’s Boise Weekly.

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