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City Could Pass Ordinance on Boise Ballpark Referendum

Boise Hawks

In a move that would effectively render a citizen-driven referendum moot, Boise officials could approve their own ordinance for a vote on a potential Boise Hawks (Short Season A; Northwest League) ballpark. 

Discussions are taking place about the possibility of replacing Memorial Stadium with a new ballpark that would anchor a larger development initiative. 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.

While a formal proposal has yet to be submitted to the city, the possibility of a ballpark project–along with separate discussions over a new library–prompted referendum pushes from the citizens group Boise Working Together. It was recently confirmed that the group had obtained enough valid signatures to prompt referendums, but the city could override that initiative by passing its own ordinances for votes on both projects.

Technically, Boise Working Together’s petition would not trigger a referendum on the ballpark project itself. Instead, it would ask citizens if they want a later vote on a ballpark that would require more than $5 million in spending from the city. The exact language within the potential city ordinance remains unknown, but Boise mayor Dave Bieter argues that a city ordinance could result in a more straightforward process. More from the Idaho Statesman:

Bieter says a vote to vote is just confusing.

“An advantage to passing the ordinance would be the simplicity of it,” he said. “Rather than a vote to vote, which would be rather complicated… an advantage is that it would be an up or down vote on that project.”

Idaho state law gives city councils 30 days from the date of the petition validation to schedule a public hearing on the proposed ordinances. It also gives councils the opportunity to adopt the proposed ordinances within that 30-day window.

In addition to the Hawks, the proposed facility would be home to a planned professional soccer club in Division II USL Championship that would also be backed by Agon. Boise State and its baseball program will not be part of the plan, as the university announced last week that it was redirecting its facility planning toward a proposed new on-campus ballpark.

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