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Boise Ballpark Plan Draws Concerns From Residents

Proposed Boise Hawks ballpark

At a meeting on Tuesday, some residents vocally expressed their concerns over a proposed new ballpark for the Boise Hawks (Short Season A; Northwest League) in the city’s downtown. 

The Hawks are working to replace Memorial Stadium with a new ballpark at Americana Boulevard and Shoreline Drive. Last year, Greenstone Properties–owned by Hawks co-owner Chris Schoen–reached terms with St. Luke’s Health System on the 11-acre property, making it the focal point of new ballpark discussions. Though an alternative plan to build the ballpark on the city’s west end surfaced late last year, Greenstone is now working to submit an application to rezone five parcels for the ballpark and surrounding development at the downtown site.

Part of that process requires notifying neighbors within 300 feet of the site and holding a meeting for them. That meeting took place before a crowd around 100 on Tuesday and, while not every attendee was opposed to the ballpark plan, some residents were vocal in their concerns over the proposal.  More from The Idaho Statesman:

Cassie Sturdevant, who lives in Southeast Boise, said location is her main concern. She doesn’t think there’s enough room for parking and that the streets around the site don’t have enough capacity for the traffic it would add.

The project, as proposed, would include a 700-space parking garage, as well as residential, office and retail space. The Ada County Highway District, which controls public roads, has not weighed in yet as to how traffic would be affected, partly because Greenstone has yet to submit an application.

Sturdevant also worries about environmental impacts, such as how noise from the stadium would affect birds in Ann Morrison and Kathryn Albertson parks just on the other side of the Boise River.

“And also, I don’t want to pay for it,” she said.

The financial model estimates for a $40-million ballpark. Greenstone would provide $1 million in cash and donate four acres of land, with the city chipping in $3 million, the Greater Boise Auditorium District contributing $5 million, and the rest covered by a 20-year bond borrowed by Capital City Development Corporation (CCDC), the city’s urban renewal agency. Greenstone would be expected to add at least $60 million in development surrounding the ballpark, with property taxes from the development and annual ballpark rent payments covering the CCDC’s debt.

Aside from being pitched as a catalyst for development, the facility has been touted as a venue that could host multiple types of events throughout the year. That could include 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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