Introduction and Background
Since its creation in 2003, the Westside District has been assisting the community’s efforts to enhance downtown Boise and create a sense of place for the area just west of the downtown core. Formation of the Westside District Urban Renewal Plan and the Westside Downtown Framework Plan crystalized a vision shared by City leaders and community members and identified objectives for the nearly 50 block area. The most relevant objectives include:
- Preserving existing historic buildings through adaptive re-use
- Creating a lively mix of pedestrian-oriented uses, such as well-lit, wide sidewalks and street trees
- Securing meaningful public open spaces
- Pursuing diverse housing opportunities
- Expanding transportation options that include bicycle pathways and shared public transportation
- Initiating projects and partnerships that would serve to improve the quality of life for Boiseans
Over the last 17 years, the Westside District has seen considerable progress and forward movement on these goals and objectives. The plan that originally inspired the district formation still rings true today. It continues to encourage conversation and to re-imagine what is possible in the next seven years before the district closes. After significant stakeholder outreach and meetings, Capital City Development Corporation identified the need to adjust the Westside District’s boundaries to further the district’s objectives and continue meeting the future needs of the area.
Amending Boundaries, Assisting the Community
While the proposed addition to the district’s northern boundary is a relatively small area, 14 acres in addition to the current 144 acres, several critical steps had to be taken to ensure the new area followed state law before adjusting the district boundaries and amending the Westside District Plan could even be considered.
CCDC hired SB Friedman, a third-party consultant, to ensure all requirements were met. These requirements and their findings include the following:
- Is the new area less than 10 percent of the existing area? Yes, the proposed area is 9.8 percent of the existing area.
- Is the new area contiguous? Yes, the new area adds two sub areas, or nodes, to the original project area. The “East Node” includes the historic Carnegie Library, a vacant bank building, and a church, and the “West Node” includes the YMCA block and the Historic Boise High School. Once the original boundary is adjusted to include the two nodes, it creates a single contiguous project area.
- Is the district, including the proposed amendment area, financially feasible? Based on SB Friedman’s economic feasibility study and the comparison between projected revenue and costs, the amended Westside District is economically feasible. View SB Friedman’s Economic Feasibility Study here, or their overview from the September CCDC Board Meeting here.
Outcomes and Next Steps
Proposed outcomes in the expanded area directly contribute to the original goals of the Westside District. These outcomes include:
Transportation and Mobility Enhancements
- Further support of the 11th Street Bikeway, a premier all-ages, all-abilities protected bikeway connecting the Boise Foothills and North Boise neighborhoods with downtown and the Greenbelt
- Improved parking around Boise High School and the Downtown YMCA
- North 8th Street improvements include extending the bike lanes and sidewalk facilities to expand the pedestrian network. This would be an extension 8th Street Improvements underway in the original Westside District project area
- Franklin Street streetscape improvements
Initiating Projects and Partnerships
- Assisting with the adaptive re-use of the historic Carnegie Library
- Collaborating on future YMCA developments
- Assisting potential redevelopment through the CCDC Participation Program
To formalize the adoption of the new district area, the City of Boise must approve the proposed plan amendment. The proposed timeline is the following:
- City Council Approves Amendment study area Eligibility Report – May 13, 2019 (complete)
- CCDC Board Approves First Amendment to the Westside District Urban Renewal Plan– September 14, 2020
- Formal Transmittal to City – September 18, 2020 (complete)
- Consideration and conformance with City Comprehensive plan by Planning and Zoning Commission – October 5, 2020 (complete)
- Publish Notice of Public Hearings – Early October 2020
- City Council Public Hearings (3) – November 10, November 17, and December 1, 2020 (tentative dates)
- Publish Ordinance Summary and Record Ordinance– December 2020
Related Information and Documents
For questions regarding this amendment of the Westside District, please contact CCDC Assistant Director of Placemaking and Infrastructure, Doug Woodruff.