Boise City Leaders Break Ground on 'Overdue' Bown Library Branch 

click to enlarge - Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, members of the Boise City Council and other stakeholders break ground on the new Library branch at Bown Crossing -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, members of the Boise City Council and other stakeholders break ground on the new Library branch at Bown Crossing


On an open parcel of land with a commanding view of the Boise Foothills - sandwiched between Riverside Elementary School, a Saint Alphonsus urgent care center and a commercial district featuring restaurants and retail - Boise city leaders broke ground Wednesday on the much-anticipated Boise Public Library branch at Bown Crossing. 

"We're supposed to love our libraries equally, but we love this a little better," said Boise Mayor Dave Bieter just before picking up a golden shovel and tossing some earth during the October 28 groundbreaking ceremony.

The 16,000 square-foot Bown library branch is slated to open this time next year on the 3-acre parcel. Its opening-day collection will include 35,000-45,000 items, Internet access on 28 computers and 12 check-outable mobile devices. The new facility's total budget is $8.625 million—$1 million of which was presented to the mayor during the groundbreaking by Bev Harad and Jo Anne Michaels of the Boise Public Library Foundation. The rest of the budget comes from Boise's capital contingency fund.

click to enlarge - A rendering of the completed Bown Crossing branch of the Boise Public Library -  - FFA ARCHITECTURE/CITY OF BOISE
  • FFA Architecture/City of Boise
  • A rendering of the completed Bown Crossing branch of the Boise Public Library
Boise Public Library Director Kevin Booe described the Bown branch to be "overdue"—at least since the tenures of former Boise City Council members David Eberle and Alan Shealy—but planning and providing funds for the branch has proved difficult over the years, delaying the project by a recession and failed bond measure in 2013.

The Bown branch effort got a boost, however, from the passage of the so-called Boise Fire Bond in November 2014. The bond, totaling $17 million, allowed the city to pay for a new fire station and firefighter training facilities with minimal impact on the city budget, thus freeing capital funds to pay for the new library branch.

Without the Boise Fire Bond's passage, Bieter said, "We would spend all our capital on fire facilities and not on libraries like today."

This is the third groundbreaking/unveiling Bieter and other City Council members have attended in recent weeks in their lead-up to the Tuesday, Nov. 3 municipal election: The mayor and other city leaders have attended groundbreakings at the Bown library branch and the upcoming boutique hotel Inn at 500 Capitol, as well as the announcement of the Golda Harris Nature Preserve last week. 
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