Boise BSU/Broadway

Saint Alphonsus plans neighborhood hospital in St. Lukes' neighborhood

Saint Alphonsus Health System has filed plans with the City of Boise to build a neighborhood hospital in Downtown Boise, across from St. Luke's Health System's support services campus (the former MK/WGI/URS campus).  It's also less than a mile from the original St. Luke's Regional Medical Center campus.

"A neighborhood hospital is a new approach to providing convenient, expedient access to emergency services and short-stay, low-acuity inpatient beds for a local neighborhood," Saint Alphonsus Public Relations and Digital Strategy Manager Josh Schlaich said. "As a smaller hospital facility with 24/7 emergency access, the neighborhood hospital in downtown will improve access for the community, helping to respond to the increased number of patients (and increased level of acuity) we're seeing in our current ER at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center on Curtis Road.

The 18,215 square foot medical building would be located next to Whole Foods and would feature eight exam rooms, imaging department and room for eight inpatient beds.

The two-story building would also include emergency care services, a pediatric exam room, a meditation/bereavement area and conference room. It would also feature an ambulance bay, and would be Saint Alphonsus' seventh area emergency room.

Forty-eight parking spaces would be added to the site.  The hospital would replace temporary employee parking for Whole Foods on the site.

In 2007, City of Boise planning staff had approved a 17-story mixed-use project on the site that would have included a hotel as well as Whole Foods.  The 2008 economic downturn scuttled those plans.  When the economy began to recover, the existing Walgreens and Whole Foods were built in separate buildings.

CVS continues plans for Boise push near Boise State

Plans for another CVS store have been filed with the City of Boise - the second planned location on the drawing board.

In April, BoiseDev was first to report on a planned location at Fairview Ave. & Cole Rd.

The store would be constructed at Capitol Blvd. and University/Ann Morrison Park Blvd.  It would replace a current small strip mall which contains Subway, Tree City Smoothie, and Subway.  That building itself is less than ten years old, and replaced a former Phillips 66 gas station on the site. The fate of those businesses is not currently known.

The new CVS would be just larger than 13,000 square feet and include parking for 64 vehicles.  The building would be built toward Capitol Blvd. It would include a drive-through for drugs on the go.

The building is winding its way through the City of Boise's permit process.

 

Albertsons to launch new style market in Boise

UPDATE: June 7, 2017: Building permits have been filed for this project, a ground breaking is expected soon.

ORIGINAL: July 6, 2016: Albertsons Companies plans a drastic overhaul of one of its earliest (and smallest) Boise stores - with a totally new store at Broadway and Beacon. 

Hot on the heels of our exclusive on adding grocery delivery in the Treasure Valley, the Boise-based grocery giant will tear down its so-called Broadway market, along with several adjoining businesses - and replace it with a much larger and more modern store with some unique features.

Currently, the Albertsons store faces Beacon street and is part of a strip which includes a laundromat, liquor store, Noodles & Company and several vacant storefronts. Here's the current site plan:

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 4.16.11 PM.png

If it gets approval from planning and zoning, the retailer will begin work on a 70,000 square foot store which will face Broadway instead of Beacon - and back up onto Grant Avenue. The existing store will be torn down, along with a vacant medical office and most of the strip center. The Idaho State Liquor Store and Noodles will be retained, and will become a pad site - as will the existing Wells Fargo Bank. This is how the site will look upon completion:

The store itself has been designed with a unique format which will include a second floor area and outdoor balcony. Documents filed with the City of Boise indicate the new store would include an indoor/outdoor space on the second floor for "family and group gathering and dining functions." The store borrowed design elements from the original Vista Village Albertsons Department store that dates to 1953, according to the documents (a source of Day family pride ;) ). In this archive photo of the old VV Albertsons you can see a metal trellis with the store name/logo on top - which figures into the design shown in the renderings below.

The new store will back up on to Grant Ave.  The company has gone to quite a bit of work to try and preemptively answer potential city planner concerns by dressing up the sides of the building that will face residences.  A row of homes once lined Grant - but they have all ben purchased and torn down, allowing Albertons to expand on the site. Here's a Google aerial image from 1999:

A P&Z hearing will be held in August. Albertsons hopes to build the new store before tearing down the existing building.

St. Luke's to move historic home, construction office

Courtesy St. Luke's Health System

Courtesy St. Luke's Health System

  • Move a-Foote: St. Luke's Health System is shuffling things around in advance of its big expansion.  The Bishop Foote Guest House will move from its current spot at 2nd and Jefferson to an area over by the Pioneer Cemetery on Ave B.  A separate construction office will also move to the Ave. B site, if the City of Boise signs off.
  • Use and history: The Bishop Foote house was built in 1935. In 1972 it became an outpatient home for adults and has been owned and operated by the hospital for the last 40 years. More than 100,000 people have stayed in the two-story home. 
  • Hey neighbors: St. Luke's will hold a required neighborhood meeting on both buildings at 6 p.m. on May 25th in the Anderson Conference Center.
  • Not-AKA: The Bishop Foote Guest House is not to be confused with The Bishop's House - a home formerly owned by St. Luke's that was built in the late 1890's, and was home to former Episcopal Bishop Foote. That home is now located out by the Old Pen.
  • More to come? Probably. The plans for the downtown hospital show lots of places where homes are now to be used for new facilities. SLHS already owns most if not all of the land.  A consultant for the hospital system said in 2014 of most of the homes: "that the historic context associated with the study area is not considered significant to the history of Boise."  The Bishop Foote house was listed as an exception to the rule.

CCDC weighs options for new district to help fund stadium

EXCLUSIVE

In support of a project to build a new multi-use stadium near the Boise River, the Capital City Development Corporation in connection with the City of Boise has been weighing the creation of a fifth urban renewal district to help fund the project.

An urban renewal district works by capping property tax collections to agencies like schools, police, fire and roads at the level they stand at the time the district is created.  Then, when and if urban renewal efforts and natural property value increase the tax collection amounts of the properties inside that district - the "extra" tax money is funneled to CCDC for a period of up to twenty years.

ALSO READ: Quiet effort could bring urban renewal to Boise's bench

CCDC often secures bonds on the so-called "tax increment," allowing it to fund projects upfront and pay for them over the life of the district.

It isn't clear how much of the funds from a new urban renewal district would be used for a stadium.  In a draft term sheet from February, CCDC notes that it "does not prefer to use 100% of the increment generated for a single project unless there are undue circumstance."

In an April 6th document obtained by BoiseDev via a public records request, CCDC outlines five options for a new district within an are it is studying in the general vicinity of the proposed stadium.

OPTION A

The largest proposed area pulls in the entire area the agency studied - which includes a large swath of land south of the Interstate 184 Connector, south of the river near Royal Blvd., and an area adjacent to Kathryn Albertson Park.

This proposal would include removing chunks of two current CCDC districts - the "River-Myrtle/Old Boise" area and the "30th Street" area, as well as adding more land area not currently in an urban renewal district.

According to the agency, this would fund $1.33 million in annual increment dollars.  CCDC says the pros of this plan would enable flexibility with any future plans.  It outlines the cons as taking flexibility away from the River-Myrtle area, and including "residential areas that are usually 'high cost' areas to include in a URD."

This option is also said to be "politically sensitive" because it includes residential areas.

OPTION B

The second plan outlined is the smallest area - it includes just 11 acres, which consists of the land that St. Luke's Health System plans to sell for a stadium project as well as some right of way in the area.  It would generate $92,644 in annual increment.

CCDC says the pros of this plan would be low impact to the River-Myrtle funding picture. It lists cons as creating less flexibility and makes the district entirely dependent on the stadium project for its success. 

OPTION C

 

This grows the district size from option B, by adding parcels that are right next to the 11-acre stadium area.  CCDC estimates it would crank out $149,130 in annual increment.

The pros are said to be "low impact to existing (River-Myrtle area) and ability to continue assistance in the area pre-Stadium." The report also says it would include few residential parcels.

The cons are noted as continuing to have low flexibility in the future and being based highly on the stadium project. It also says it would limit CCDC's ability to help improve roads and the Boise River Greenbelt. 

OPTION D

 

This idea again grows from option C, and throws in both sides of the riverbank that contain the Greenbelt, plus adding the office parks along the Boise River on River Street and a portion of the Lusk St. neighborhood south of the Boise River.

Despite the significantly larger area, CCDC says this would only generate $20,000 more in funds from option C - a total of about $169,853.

The plus side of this scenario according to the agency are similar to the option above, and adds the ability to decrease surface parking on River St., plus helping with plans for a future Library! expansion and the area near BSU.

Boise State is also listed as a con of this option - and "unclear whether Lusk District needs (urban renewal). 

OPTION E

The final option builds on option D, but adds chunks of land across Americana on both sides of the Boise River.  

This concept would generate a total of $276,950 in estimated increment funds. The pros and cons here are similar to option D.

The timeline

In a February document, CCDC said it would present an initial plan for the district during its April 6th meeting. BoiseDev attended that meeting and the plans were not submitted - which would likely impact the rest of the timeline document.  It initially noted a target date of June 6th for approval by Boise City Council.

Zoo Boise plans expansion, hopes to further conservation mission

A rendering of a portion of the new Zoo Boise expansion. Courtesy Zoo Boise.

A rendering of a portion of the new Zoo Boise expansion. Courtesy Zoo Boise.

For the first time in more than 35 years, Zoo Boise is expanding its footprint in Boise’s Julia Davis Park - with big plans to revamp portions of the existing facility in the process.

A young zoo visitor feeds animals during a visit this spring. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev.com

A young zoo visitor feeds animals during a visit this spring. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev.com

The zoo just completed a $9 million capital campaign and is in the process of putting together final plans with hopes of beginning construction in early 2018.

More than just a fresh coat of paint and new exhibits, the expansion is centered on the zoo’s evolving mission to help drive conservation funds and increase education for zoo-goers about the challenges the environment and many species of animals face.

“What we want when you come to the park - is yes, we want you to have a good time.  We also want you to learn about animals and ecosystems and all that,” Zoo Boise Director Steve Burns said. “Unfortunately it’s not enough anymore. The world needs more than that.”

A decade ago, the city-owned zoo added a small conservation fee to gate admission - the first zoo to do so in the country according to Burns.  It also added some upcharge experiences once inside - including the ability to feed the zoo’s giraffes or take a solar-powered boat ride - with those funds also going to conservation efforts. In all, more than $2.3 million has been raised for the effort.

“We have turned the act of visiting the zoo into a conservation action,” Burns said.

Site plan of the new Gorongosa area of the zoo. Click to enlarge.

The expansion will focus on two key conservation partnerships.  The first is the Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique - an area ravaged by conflict.

“It was this incredible park that was destroyed in 25 years of war in that country,” Burns said. “In the process, that park was destroyed and pretty much all of the mammals were killed and most of them were eaten by hungry people - hungry soldiers.”

Idaho-born philanthropist Greg Carr has dedicated his life and wealth toward restoring the park.  Carr built a career in the high-tech industry by developing an early voicemail system and serving as chairman of internet service provider Prodigy.  He was born in Idaho Falls - and helped bring Zoo Boise into the effort to restore Gorongosa.

Now the zoo is planning to bring a piece of Gorongosa to Boise. The zoo will bump out into Julia Davis Park and add another 1.5 acres to its footprint on the side of the zoo furthest from the entrance.  The new area will be combined with an area currently used for events like Boo at the Zoo, allowing for the Gorongosa exhibit. New animals like Nile crocodiles, hyenas, baboons, warthogs and nyala will be featured.

Site plan of the new entry area of the zoo. Click to enlarge.

At the front part of the zoo, the current primate house and aviaries will be removed - areas built in the late 1960s.

“They were good exhibits at the time, but we just can’t do anything to bring them up to modern zoological standards,” Burns said.

That space will be reimagined into a new area with visitor amenities and a few new exhibits -- right up front where attendees enter the zoo.

The exhibits here will focus on another conservation project - helping to protect the Annamite Mountains between Vietnam and Laos.  Teams of teens at the zoo have been working for several years on a project to fight poaching in that region.

“By featuring animals from the Annamite Mountains, it gives those teams a larger platform to deliver their conservation message,” Burns said.  The gibbons who currently reside in that portion of the zoo will get new digs in the Annamite Mountains exhibit.

A new event space with a stage, picnic facilities and more will be placed near the entrance to replace the current spot in the back of the zoo.

Right now, the zoo jockeys with the Sun Valley Resort for the title of most-visited paid attraction in the State of Idaho - and is consistently the most-visited spot in the Treasure Valley.

Nearly 350,000 visits were made to the zoo in 2016, and Burns hopes the additions will begin to nudge attendance toward the 400,000 mark.

More visitors will help drive the zoo’s conservation drive even further.

“Visitors have generated about $2.3 million for conservation,” over ten years according to Burns. “We have turned the act of visiting the zoo into a conservation action. We don’t want to build any more exhibits that aren’t tied to our existing conservation projects.”

Beyond the far-flung efforts in Africa and Asia, some of the conservation funds are going to projects close to home.  

“Last year when Table Rock burned, we put $100k in conservation fees toward the restoration,” he said. He hopes that’s the first of many projects.

“People love the foothills. The sagebrush steppe ecosystem where we live is one of the most endangered in the country. We hope to partner with Boise Parks and Recreation on the foothills and open space and get more involved in restoration efforts and habitat efforts.”

Friends of Zoo Boise is one of the 700 causes that is signed up for Idaho Gives 2017. Donors can make a contribution online on May 4th with proceeds going toward the zoo. Throughout the day, random donations will be matched from an award pool. (Disclosure: Day365 which operates BoiseDev is also handling media and PR services for Idaho Gives).

The expansion will further cement Zoo Boise’s spot in the heart of Julia Davis Park - just a short walk from Downtown. The zoo expansion will join a complete revamp of the Idaho Historical Museum, a new walkway connecting the park to 5th Street and other projects.

“Julia Davis Park is a unique park in the city,” Burns said. “It’s the cultural attractions park of Boise. We would hope that if the City continues to grow and our cultural attractions get better, we’re right here in the middle of all that. It’s great to be right downtown - you can see the giraffes sticking their head up over the fence.”

If everything goes well, plans will be presented to the City of Boise’s building and planning folks this fall, with the expansion fully open after a year of construction and four months of theming by summer of 2019.

 

Cars or no? City, St. Luke's work to find solution to Bannock design

The City of Boise and St. Luke's are trying to decide the future of a current plaza through the Health System's Downtown Boise campus. Don Day/BoiseDev.com

The City of Boise and St. Luke's are trying to decide the future of a current plaza through the Health System's Downtown Boise campus. Don Day/BoiseDev.com

Don Day
BoiseDev.com

St. Luke’s Health System and the City of Boise continued to tangle over the future of Bannock Street through the downtown Boise hospital campus.

During a three-day process designed to resolve conflicts and map out solutions, the two sides worked to build consensus on a wide array of issues regarding the upcoming revamp of the downtown hospital.

The two sides were joined by members of the community - including East End neighbors, an official with CCDC, a high school student and commuters. 

During the sessions, St. Luke's and City of Boise officials were able to find common ground on many design issues during the sessions - but conflict arose several times during a Thursday session attended by BoiseDev about the idea of allowing vehicles to again travel on Bannock St. as they did before 2004 when a single block of the street near 1st St. was closed to cars.

EARLIER: After mayor's disappointment in Bannock St. plan, City & St. Luke's make deal to put off changes

In the spring of 2016, the City of Boise agreed to allow for the closure of nearby Jefferson St., after hearing hours of testimony over several days from folks both in favor of and opposed to the closure.  The hospital says it needed to close Jefferson to facilitate a large expansion project - but many neighbors in the East End complained it would cut off the only east-west access route through the entirety of Downtown.

Bannock St. between MSTI and the "Main Hospital" is current closed to all but pedestrians and cyclists. City officials want to see it opened to include vehicle traffic.

Bannock St. between MSTI and the "Main Hospital" is current closed to all but pedestrians and cyclists. City officials want to see it opened to include vehicle traffic.

As a compromise of sorts, Boise City Council required St. Luke's to give it an easement down Bannock, which is currently closed to traffic.  How that new crossing will function in the future hasn't yet been determined - which is leading to the current conflict.

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter strongly advocated for opening up the street to not just bikes - but cars.  His central argument is  limited vehicle use would boost the safety of cyclists on the street.

"I ride this all the time and I have to get off and walk it because no one is cued to a bicycle," he said. 

City council member Elaine Clegg agreed.

“If people know that a car may be there, they will treat that space differently," she said. "I think the pro of having vehicles allowed changes the perception of the space and makes everyone more careful."

The mayor also noted that putting together a plan that gives cars access to Bannock would help with public perception after the contentious public testimony last year that led to the approval of closing Jefferson.

Stakeholders tour the Bannock St. plaza. Photo courtesy St. Luke's Health System

Stakeholders tour the Bannock St. plaza. Photo courtesy St. Luke's Health System

“It’s kind of a moral victory to losing Jefferson," he said. "We have to get a majority of council members (to approve the plan) — and I think this is a big deal towards doing that."

Bieter says he thinks his constituents want to see a way through the campus with the pending closure of Jefferson.

"After all the hours of public testimony and outreach and discussion, the only thing that... threw a bone to people… was the ability to go through this (with cars)."

Peter Lawley with TDG General Contractors, who was hired by St. Luke's to facilitate the discussion - asked if there was a way to get that goodwill without allowing cars to travel the stretch.

 “If we designed it in such a way that we got a lot of community goodwill but didn’t open it up for traffic - does that get you enough goodwill to be able to go back to the community to get that goodwill? Does that get us enough goodwill that we can let go of the car thing?”

“I don’t think it does," Bieter said. "I do believe that you get a better bicycle experience when you allow (cars)."

City officials said that areas like the Basque Block and 8th Street between Main and Bannock show that allowing minimal traffic can lead to a vibrant area with mixed-use.

"I completely appreciate the Basque Block and 8th street and it’s vibrant and you go have dinner there," St. Luke's West Region CEO Kathy Moore said. "I guess the question is, is that what you want for your hospital stay? What we see here on campus (along Bannock)  is people who are struggling and who are facing end of life situations. They are wanting that opportunity to sit and to reflect. "

Moore said she thinks that the community puts as much emphasis on traffic through campus as the ability to have a calm place.

"I struggle with this comparison to the commercial district. People have an expectation of safety when they come on our campus and they need to be safe when they do so," she said.

"With all due respect," Bieter said, "I’m not calling it the same as the Basque Block and 8th Street. "It didn’t freak people out to come to St. Luke's in 2004 - it was just twelve years ago. They didn’t feel mortal danger twelve years ago."

Bieter and Clegg pointed to a new green space that will be created on Jefferson when that street is closed as an area where those types of activities could take place.

“I think it’s unfortunate to limit park space to one place,” Moore said.

“You’re taking out a street though," the mayor said pointedly. "You’re taking out a whole public right way on Jefferson when that street is closed - and it's an area where those types of activities could take place."

St. Luke's officials pointed to the location of Bannock on the campus - with employees, patients and others using the current plaza to move between the main building and the south tower which would create new car/pedestrian conflicts if the stretch were opened up.

Bieter thinks all the goals can be accomplished.

“I think we can do both," he said. "It’s not Jefferson. It’s not going to be like Jefferson in the way that it is now. I think you serve both better. "

Clegg advocated in favor of opening the street to cars - and then gauging the impact.

“Let’s design it to allow cars, to let them use it," she said. "If it’s proven that the cars are such a danger… we’ll cut em off!"

Bieter closed on a conciliatory tone and noted that the two sides made lots of progress, even though there was no agreement on the vehicle issue.

“It’s a big big deal to do this today, and we appreciate it.”

Moore also noted she found value in the dialogue.

"It really is St. Lukes' desire to be a good neighbor. I think we’ve come to a good spot today.  We don’t have to agree on everything, right? But we do have to agree to dialogue and share.

Lawley says Thursday's meetings helped move the process forward.

“There is enough consensus now on the design to move forward and develop some of the details for that design," Lawley said in a statement provided by St. Luke's after the meeting. "We don’t yet have consensus on how the space will operate, and whether those operations are to include vehicles or not, or to allow vehicles but maybe restrict the time of day they can access the space, etc.”

Trump & transit: How will Federal shifts affect Boise's Circulator idea?

For a Boise streetcar or bus circulator project to happen, city leaders are clear it will need a healthy dose of Federal funding. But with significant cutbacks to the Transportation Department proposed by the Trump administration - will it throw the brakes on a circulator before it ever even gets moving?

President Donald Trump's administration outlines a cut to nearly every federal department outside of defense and veteran's affairs - and that includes a 17% hit to the US Department of Transportation.

The proposal would slice $2.4 billion out of the cash pile dedicated to moving Americans in the coming budget year.

"The Budget reduces or eliminates programs that are either inefficient, duplicative of other Federal efforts, or that involve activities that are better delivered by States, localities, or the private sector," the budget document notes according to The Hill.

The Boise Circulator Alternatives Analysis proposes a number of potential funding sources - including a local improvement district, parking revenue, Boise State student fees and other ideas.

During an extensive conversation with BoiseDev in December, City of Boise circulator project manager James Pardy said that federal funding would likely play a key role.

"We would expect more funding opportunity from the federal government on a more expensive system," he said. 

In documents obtained by BoiseDev, City of Boise officials cited two likely funding sources from the Federal government - a pair of grant programs known as Small Starts and TIGER.

But the Trump budget specifically notes that, in its view, municipalities should figure out how to fund programs on their own.

“Future investments in new transit projects would be funded by the localities that use and benefit from these localized projects,” according to Trump’s spending plan.

The budget plan slices both Small Starts (and its sister program New Starts), as well as TIGER grants.

The budget has not yet been approved by congress - and could come out in a significantly different final form.  

City of Boise Director of Communications Mike Journee says the city is progressing, for now, as though everything is status quo.

"We are aware of and are watching the potentially shifting federal funding picture," he wrote in an email to BoiseDev. "However, the process as it exists now is what we have to work with, so we will continue in that vein until we know different."

He says the Alternatives Analysis process is about finding answers to questions big and small on the project - including funding. 

 "This whole process has been about assessing and defining what's possible and that will not change going forward, no matter what happens at the federal level. We envision that, over the next 18 months, we will really dig into the funding question both locally and at the federal level."

During a meeting with CEOs Tuesday, Trump said his forthcoming $1 trillion infrastructure plan will focus exclusively on "shovel ready" projects -- those that could get going right away.

“If you have a job that you can’t start within 90 days, we’re not going to give you the money for it,” he said according to MarketWatch.  That bill could be introduced this year, and include $100 billion-$200 billion in federal funds as well as offsetting tax credits - with the full $1 trillion spread over ten years.

 Details on what types of projects could be qualified haven't yet been detailed - though reporting from McClatchy in January outlined 50 "priority" projects. The list detailed no projects in Idaho - and primarily focused on roads and bridges. Six "mass transit" projects were included - including expansion of the NYC subway and expansion of rail lines in major metros areas like Boston and Detroit. No municpal streetcar projects were included - though it's unclear what types of projects beyond the top 50 could be funded or how the process might work.

Triangular apartment building in progress near Boise State

In late-2015, we noted an apartment complex was slated for the triangular patch of land surrounded by Beacon St., Boise Ave. and Oakland Ave. near Boise State.

Now, the project is finally moving forward - with the demolition of some dilapidated homes on the ground completed over the weekend.

The unique complex would feature apartments on three sides, with parking inside the triangular-shaped courtyard.

The five-story building would feature 98 apartments, with parking for 83 cars and 98 bicycles.

"We are very excited about this particular project," architect David Ruby said during a planning and zoning meeting in late 2015. "This uniquely shaped site, which has been underutilized for years and years, is situated at a fantastic location in our community. It’s also strategically located at the geographic center of Boise State campus in the east/west direction and as the bookend to the original south Boise neighborhood; this site is particularly well suited for this type of housing project."

The building features a rooftop deck, student lounges and extensive indoor parking for bicycles. The corner at Boise and Oakland features rounded glass to provide open light to student lounges on each floor.

After design review approval last year, Ruby & the site's developer, FH Boise applied to remove the individual aparment decks - not reflected in the rendered photos.

Check out this aerial of the completed demolition, courtesy Matt Roderick at Rapid Aerial.

Circulator open house: mixed reactions

BoiseDev has obtained a summary of the comments received during an open house for a circulator from Boise State through Downtown Boise.

The reaction from those attended was decidedly mixed - with some leaving emphatic comments in favor of a fixed-rail circulator, but at least as many leaving comments preferring something else.  There is no clear consensus in the public opinion collected on Tuesday - though in general respondents are in favor of some type of circulator.

Eight comments specifically said they supported a streetcar - but interestingly, eight people also explicitly named buses or were against rail.

In all, 45 comment cards were filled out.  The City of Boise's analysis passed to circulator committee members said there were 44 comments - but there are 45 listed. Here's how the comments broke down:

  • Generally supportive of a circulator, no mode mentioned: 14 comments 
  • Supportive of a streetcar: 8 comments
  • Supportive of bus options or against rail: 8 comments
  • Supportive of either bus or streetcar: 1 comment
  • Opposed to project: 5 comments
  • Mixed opinion: 1 comment
  • Other: 8 comments

See the comments for yourself:

  • Generally supportive - 14 replies
    • Like it. Add line to Vista and Airport.
    • This is Awesome.  Hope it goes through.
    • We need this.
    • I like that this mode of transportation is more efficient and provides younger and older people with more transportation.
    • Great way to get around downtown and more revenue for business.
    • Make it happen, make it high frequency, make it expandable.
    • I’m in support.
    • Looks great, can’t wait.
    • Looks good.  We need local option.
    • Support the concept and project.
    • Move Forward.
    • Great love it.  Like to see it coupled with all transit services.
    • Great stuff.
    • Couldn’t be happier with this news.  Like to see more but realize need to start somewhere.
  • Supportive of a streetcar - 8 replies
    • I support the streetcar to facilitate development towards the river.
    • Very excited, prefer the street car.  Regional connectivity is key.
    • Streetcar would be fantastic addition to downtown.  Also better bike lanes.
    • Go rail, support 100%.  Boise needs a seamless transportation system so sustain quality of life, needs to start now.
    • More streetcars the better.
    • Like the streetcar. Update plan to reflect changes in downtown (i.e. go out towards CWI).
    • Like the project prefer street car.
    • Go for the rail.
  • Supportive of bus options or against rail - 8 replies
    • Like the “T” route, consider rubber tire as proof of concept.
    • Circulator can be a new bus route and should connect downtown to all libraries.
    • Would the money be better spent on improving current bus system?
    • Expand and build the existing bus system instead.
    • Better bus service makes more sense. Rather see a real transit system.
    • Insane expense, waste of tax payer money.  Ridership will be minimal. Increase use of buses.
    • Thanks for getting the discussion going.  Keep options open.  Rubber tire is more flexible and cost effective.
    • Pursue new technology not rail.
  • Supportive of bus or streetcar - 1 reply
    • Really like the streetcar option. Bus would work though.
  • Mixed opinion - 1 reply
    • Love the idea but fear the cost.
  • Opposed to project - 5 replies
    • Would rather see money spent on regional transportation.  Downtown circulator is a waste of tax money.
    • Way too expensive for small increase in ridership.
    • We DO NOT need the Trolley to Nowhere, or the Circulator.  What we need is transit (rail) from Caldwell/Nampa and Meridian/Eagle to Boise.  We've needed it for a long time.  Please focus your efforts there! – Via email.
    • What part of no don’t you get?
    • Who is going to use it, how are you going to pay for it? Taxes are killing us! Downtown parking is ridiculous.
  • Other comments - 8 replies
    • Love it, I want to support the TAP.
    • Make the loop larger to serve more area.
    • Thanks for including BSU in the planning effort.
    • Very interested in the new alternative and the economic develop it could bring.
    • Thanks for all you do to make this the best city in America.
    • Want to learn more about the economic development.
    • Excited to see this at Treefort and feel this in greatly needed to reduce cars.  Make it free.
    • Add a stop at the corner by the Morrison Center. 

UPDATED: Tap & Cask replaces Tilted Kilt

Tilted Kilt covers up

Tilted Kilt covers up

Tilted Kilt, the so-called "breastaurant" on Broadway Ave. in Boise has closed. In its place, a locally-owned pub called "Tap & Cask has popped up

Tilted Kilt finally shut its doors late last year.

Tap & Cask is headed up by Marshall Myers, who was also involved with Tilted Kilt.  The TK franchise has a lease through 2018 on the 8,500 square foot former home to Boise icon Murphy's.

The location was closed for a few weeks while a series of minor interior updates was performed.

RELATED: 
On Broadway - Boise's hot spot   

Here's how the new restaurant describes itself on Facebook:

We are a casual-chic sports bar that’s atmosphere combines the mellow inviting warmth of a barrel house with the fun energy of an old fashioned speakeasy, add in some sports and you’ve got The Tap and Cask. Our bar menu features a contemporary twist on classic cocktails. Our 36 handle draft list is varied as rotates as needed with a focus on local brews. Our food menu is a blend of savory comfort foods with some modern flare. Tie this in with Boise’s best service and we have a recipe for enjoyment. Whether you are coming in for dinner and drinks, or to enjoy a sporting event on the TV’s we’ve got all your bases covered.

The Statesman's Mike Deeds last fall claimed the restaurant would become a Native Grill & Wings outlet.  When BoiseDev worked to confirm this, it didn't pan out. 

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New pub coming to Hyde Park

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Rose Room to close its doors

"T" for transit: Decision made on Boise streetcar; inside the push to make it a reality

Boise's mayor has wanted a streetcar to roll its way through Downtown Boise for a long time. In 2008, he proclaimed in his State of the City address that the city should build one. Now in 2017, will it happen? A new push is coming.

State Board OKs new Boise State Fine Arts building

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This will be a cool addition to the Capitol Blvd. in Boise: The State Board of Education approved up to $32 million in bonds for the new Fine Arts building near the Morrison Center just south of the Towers Dorms.  

"Today’s decision and the generosity of arts and education supporters will ensure that Boise State can provide a new centerpiece for Boise’s thriving arts community — and not just for our students and faculty, but for Boiseans and Idahoans of all ages,” President Bob Kustra said in a prepared statement. 

Kustra says the building will feature a World Museum with technology developed at Boise State - allowing visitors to virtually tour museums like the Louvre, Guggenheim or National Portrait Gallery. 

The space will also house the school's Department of Art. 

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Boise State to replace sign on Broadway

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The large reader board sign on Broadway Ave. at Boise State in the Albertsons Stadium parking lot has seen better days.

Originally part of a pair of signs (with the other long-since removed on Capitol Blvd.), it looms large near the new Broadway Bridge. 

But since crews began work to replace that bridge in late 2015, the sign has been dormant. The electronic reader board used to display a steady stream of notes about campus and events. The bridge project is done and open - but the sign is still dark. 

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It also features an old logo officially replaced more than four years ago with the "B" logo. 

The sign will get a new look - eventually.

"We are in the early stages of the revamp - still exploring the options," Kristen Rogers with Boise State's communications office told BoiseDev. "It's in the works, but at this point, it's just too soon for timelines."

Stay tuned...

Challenger plans coffee shop in college hot spot

The new coffee shop would be adjacent to The Tailgate's patio on Ann Morrison Park Dr.

The new coffee shop would be adjacent to The Tailgate's patio on Ann Morrison Park Dr.

The student housing boom in the Lusk St. neighborhood is leading to a rush of new services - including bars, breweries and coffee shops.

Ted Challenger, who recently purchased Cheerleaders bar & grill and converted it to The Tailgate, has filed to add a coffee shop in the building.

"Ann Morrison Coffee Shop," as the establishment is labeled in permits, would go in a 2,000 square foot space at 807 W. Ann Morrison. The remodel is valued at $20,000.

It's the second coffee shop planned in the area - with Dawson Taylor Coffee Rosters planning "Roast Coffee Shop" around the corner on Lusk St.

The neighborhood is in transition from a patch of industrial warehouses and offices to home to thousands of students in apartments servicing nearby Boise State University.

Challenger's growing hospitality business includes China Blue, Dirty Little Roddie's, Amsterdam Lounge - in addition to The Tailgate and new coffee businesses.

Jersey number two: Jersey Mike's to add second Boise store

Jersey Mike's - the New Jersey-based sandwich chain plans to add another location in Boise - this time on Broadway Ave. across from Idaho Pizza Co.

The sandwich shop will go into a newly-finished spec retail building next to Popeye's Chicken near Warren St.

Jersey Mike's entered the market with a location on State St. earlier this year.