A petition aiming for a referendum on a potential Boise Hawks (Short Season A; Northwest League) ballpark project obtained enough valid signatures, Ada County officials revealed Thursday.
As part of an effort to replace Memorial Stadium, Hawks ownership has been working on plans for a new downtown Boise ballpark. Greenstone Properties–where Hawks co-owner Chris Schoen is a partner–is working on a proposal to build the facility as part of a larger development on a site in the city’s West End, with the Hawks and professional soccer among the uses pitched for the potential venue.
Aiming for November city voter referendums on the ballpark and separate plans for a new library, a citizens group named Boise Working Together undertook a petition drive and submitted 7,148 signatures in late April for a ballpark vote. On Thursday, Ada County officials confirmed that both petitions had enough signatures to trigger a referendum, with the ballpark petition having 5,610 valid signatures.
Technically, the petition would not trigger a referendum on the project itself, but instead ask citizens if they want a later vote on a ballpark that would exceed $5 million in cost. At this point, an official proposal has not been submitted for the ballpark. More from Idaho Press:
If the initiative on either the library or the stadium gets a majority vote, the question of whether the city should complete the projects would come back before voters at a later date.
David Klinger, one of the activists with the group, referred to it as “a two-step process” for voters to have a say on the project. However, he and the rest of Boise Working Together are pleased….
“I respect the citizen engagement behind it and the passion for our community it represents,” [Boise Mayor Dave] Bieter said in a statement. “Now we will continue the conversation with Boise voters about the Main Library Campus, a project I strongly support as a tremendous asset for economic equality and prosperity for Boise’s future and people.”
However, his statement did not mention the sports park. City spokesman Mike Journee said because Atlanta-based developer Chris Schoen has not come forward with a concrete proposal for the city to consider yet, there is no reason to address the issue.
“With the community being asked to weigh in on the sports park this November, it is our hope that voters can have a factual conversation about the merits of this project, including what it means for downtown and the revitalization of the West End, the new amenities it will bring to Boise, and how these amenities can bring our community together.”
The proposed facility has been pitched as a home for the Hawks along with a planned professional soccer club in Division II USL Championship, which would also be owned by Hawks ownership group Agon Sports & Entertainment. (That club was announced earlier this year as being contingent upon construction of the proposed ballpark.) College sports could also be part of the mix, as Boise State recently announced in April that it would reengage in discussions about placing its baseball program at the facility.
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