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No Decision on Shift of Boise Ballpark Site

Proposed Boise Hawks ballpark

Though it has drawn some intrigue, no decisions have been made on the concept of shifting the site of a proposed new Boise Hawks (Short Season A; Northwest League) ballpark. 

Earlier this week, it was learned that Boise mayor Dave Bieter is considering a proposal that would ultimately change the location of the new Hawks’ ballpark. Under the plan, College of Western Idaho (CWI) would move into a former Kmart located at Americana Boulevard and Shoreline Drive. The building currently houses office space for St. Luke’s Health System, and is included in the area where Greenstone Properties–owned by Hawks co-owner Chris Schoenreached terms earlier this year for a new ballpark and surrounding development.

In exchange, CWI would free up a 10.3-acre lot between Main Street, Whitewater Park Boulevard, Quinn’s Pond, and the Boise River in Boise’s West End. The concept has drawn some intrigue since it was first reported, as it would help CWI avoid what could be a major rent increase when some of its current leases expire in the coming years. Furthermore, voters previously rejected a proposed $180 million bond that would have included funds for a new CWI campus at the Main and Whitewater Park site.  However, CWI has not decided whether it will move forward with the concept, and St. Luke’s has indicated that it is still focusing on negotiations with Schoen’s Greenstone Properties. More from The Idaho Statesman:

The West End is less developed than the Downtown core and Crescent Rim, which surround the stadium on the north and south sides, so environmental impacts from a stadium would be less of a concern. Easy connections to the Interstate 184 Connector would make access to West Boise and the rest of the Treasure Valley much easier.

But the new proposal is far from a done deal. It still would require the investment of taxpayer money that opponents have objected to, and questions about financial viability would remain.

St. Luke’s is one of several organizations that would have to sign off, and that’s no sure thing.

“What I can tell you is that the Shoreline property is under contract with Greenstone [Schoen’s company] and we are working to conclude the transaction,” St. Luke’s spokeswoman Anita Kissee said in an email.

For the Hawks, the new ballpark–which has been pitched for a 2020 opening–would serve as a replacement for Memorial Stadium. Baseball is not the only sport that has been discussed in relation to the proposal, however, as the venue could also serve as home to a professional soccer club in the USL, with MLS’s Portland Timbers reported in the past as a possible parent club.

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