July 26, 2021
- Trevor Chadwick
- Ryan Davidson
- John Evans
- Debbie Kling
- Jason Pierce
- Steve Rule
- Robert Simison
- Joe Stear
- Rich Skyes
Staff and Guests
- Susan Buxton – Director, Idaho Dept. Parks and Recreation
- Adam Zaragoza – Development Bureau Chief, Idaho Dept. Parks and Recreation
- Bill Larsen - TVP
Welcome and Introductions
Mayor Jason Pierce welcomed everyone to Eagle. They have a lot going on and there is construction everywhere.
Annual Planning Meeting
Bill wanted us to finish our discussion around the Agenda for the Annual Planning Meeting. He pointed to a draft agenda and a list of potential topics for the meeting. John had invited Bobbi-Jo with the Governor’s Office to come join us on September 10 to talk about legislative issues. She has a conflict with that date, but we could try Alex Adams.
The Annual Planning meeting is Scheduled for September 9th and 10th. On September 9th, We will be starting at 9:00 am at the Mountain Home Air Force Base.
Bill mentioned that Trace Giles will be contacting members to obtain background information for base admittance.
On September 10th, we will be at the Nampa Civic Center starting at 9:00 am. Bill has two confirmations for speakers. Dennis Owsley with Water Resources will present about the treasure valley aquifer and Paris Dickerson will be presenting on the health of the power grid in the treasure valley.
With regard to inviting Alex Adams to speak, it would be in relation to ARPA. Last month, we discussed the possibility of working together on an ARPA related project. Debbie mentioned the State also has funding and maybe we could have a discussion about the overall ARPA funding. The State has funding, City has funding and Counties as well. It might be beneficial to know the overall picture as well how we could work together on a project.
Joe said it would be a good segue if we had Alex Adams come in and talk about ARPA and then see if we can get Seth with IAC and Kelley with AIC to join us afterward to talk about legislative issues.
Jason asked if people are looking at doing anything with broadband under ARPA. Debbie indicated they have TDS coming in and she is unsure what they are going to do at this point. Jason they are looking at doing a fiber network similar to Ammon and other cities where the city actually owns all the fiber. He believes it will become just as important as sewer and water in the future. For eagle, they do not have the density as other cities. Their citizens pay approximately $20 or more per month for the same service others are getting through Sparklight.
Debbie said what is difficult is you don’t know what you got. The fiber that exists is proprietary information for the providers. Rich said they will tell you it is proprietary. But if you get with the Dept. of Commerce, they will tell you that information.
Debbie felt we did not work together well as cities and counties this last legislative session and she would like to have the opportunity to talk with the association directors on this next legislative session. John indicated that we will also have had our first interim tax committee meeting by September. He anticipates this committee will focus on urban renewal for example.
Debbie asked how we can be more effective when dealing with the legislature. Robert said, even in the Treasure Valley, our jurisdictions have different needs and if you look across the State, Eastern Idaho and Northern Idaho have different needs, so it becomes difficult to get consensus across the State to address issues with the legislature. Trevor agreed we spend a lot of time focusing on growth and it is not the same throughout the State.
John said if you look at the Secretary of State’s website, pick your favorite legislature and their campaign finance reports, it isn’t hundreds of people giving $10 each, the money consists of PACs and corporate contribution.
Eagle Island State Park
Jason introduced Susan Buxton, the Idaho Parks and Recreation Director. She used to be the City Attorney in Eagle. She has driven over 3,500 miles within the State since April 19th. The State Parks are located in some amazing locations throughout the State.
The growth we are experiencing is a tremendous challenge. Cost of housing is increasing almost everywhere in the State is another challenge. She was in Kellogg recently and the average price of a home there is $350,000. Finding employees is also a growing problem.
Governor Little is extremely interested in outdoor recreation for all of our cities no matter how remote. He is also interested in the types of people we attract into the State with our Recreation programs.
Because she served as the HR Director for the State, she does have some metrics in her head. The State of Idaho has about 25,000 employees. The State Parks system has 160 permanent employees and about 300 temporary employees.
Eagle Island has been this beautiful oasis in the middle of this valley. It is one of the gems that has not been developed for a lot of different reasons. First of all, getting utilities in there has been pretty much impossible. It is on a well and septic system. The water table there is about 3 feet and this has influenced what they can do, development wise. They just were able to work with the sewer district to get Eagle Island State Park into the sewer district.
Now that the sewer problem is in process of being solved, they have plans to put in a 50-spot campground at the facility. The funding application will go into this next legislative session and assuming it gets through there, they should be able to break ground this next fall.
She has talked to a few members of the Partnership about Eagle Island State Park. It is important for the whole treasure valley have input on what it looks like, especially for the cities that surround it. What type of thing do we want to see from this 500+ acre facility that sits in the middle of the valley?
It is easily a 35+ minute drive to lucky peak which makes Eagle Island attractive. During the pandemic, they had just over 1 million visitors to the Lucky Peak Park. Eagle Island got over 650,000 visitors. Statewide they 1.7 million more people in their parks than they did the year before. They are experiencing a 40% increase so far this year.
She has gotten numerous requests about what is needed at Eagle Island. These requests include things like a swimming pool, ball fields, a rodeo ground, hotel, etc. etc.
Debbie asked about the campsites that are going in. Are they going to limit the length of stay for campers? Adam indicated the length of stay will be the same as it is in all their parks, which is 14 days.
Robert recently happened to encounter the Governor and he mentioned in passing it might be great to have our rodeo grounds at Eagle Island State Park. In Meridian, they have a piece of property they have been considering for temporary rodeo grounds for the rodeo they have in Meridian. He is wondering if it really makes sense to have this space set aside, for two days a year to hold a rodeo? Is there a different opportunity? The City of Eagle has struggled to find a permanent home for their rodeo. This gives us an opportunity for our cities, counties and state to partner together to put in something we all need separately. It doesn’t need to be rodeo grounds, it could be something else.
To him, this is why he wanted to have a conversation here at the Partnership.
Susan said that both Governor Otter and Little have talked to her about a rodeo ground. At Eagle Island, they do get a lot of equestrian use. There are a lot of groups that want to come in and put in things like obstacles for the horses and riders. They do have horse trailer parking currently.
Joe indicated they have people that would like to have an arena to be rodeo grounds, a BMX trap among other things. It seems it might be a good use of space to have a facility like this.
Jason felt the rodeo facility would be a small part of the 500+ acres. What makes sense to him is having a rodeo ground and keeping that equestrian use. We have a lot of people that have horses on small lots. They need places to take them to. And as we continue to grow, the places where you can ride your horse are going to continue to decline.
Susan cautions that 500+ acres are not as much as you think it is. Do we keep more open space and a different type of park in our visioning for this facility? Or do we look at making event space?
Trevor said when he looks at this, he thinks of the outdoor open space for people to recreate with fishing and paddle boarding. He understands the argument for an arena. We have all this BLM land north of Eagle and Star that we could create an equestrian facility.
John asked how much of the concession money is being retained at the park? Is it enough to maintain the facilities? Susan said, currently, Eagle Island does not pay for itself. When it comes to concession’s, they usually get about 7% of the profit.
Ryan said they have the RV Park and Fairgrounds there along Chinden. They are not sure whether they will be keeping them or not. This could certainly be an alternative.
Robert asked what the time frame is to get this sewer system and RV Park put in. Adam said with the best-case scenario, for the sewer system we would start fall of next year and the RV Park could go in after that.
Susan appreciated the opportunity to meet the Partnership and to thank the members for what you do for your communities. They want to work with cities and counties and do a better job in what we do for outdoor recreation. This is a big priority for our governor and her board.
Steve asked about the grants the Dept. has. He wanted to know if there was a priority for park improvements or for new parks. Susan said she will send him a list of grants they had state-wide. This report delineates what kinds of uses were approved. We need new facilities and increased capacity, but at the same time we do need upgrades to current assets.
Joe felt it would be a good idea if we had our park directors get together and meet on this issue. Susan agreed and indicated she would work with Bill to establish a meeting for park directors in the near future.
Joe Steer moved to approve the TVP minutes and financial statement. Jason seconded. Motion carried.