Idaho Falls, ID: City Council members are all smiles tonight as the City Council approved a very generous Christmas gift from local developers.
The gift came in the form of a Gift and Park Development Agreement for 11.18 acres of undeveloped, prime, riverfront property. The donation consists of approximately $2 million in land, in-kind donations and cash from Stafford & Woody Smith, Ball Ventures and the Rotary Club of Idaho Falls.
“On behalf of the city, I would like to say thank you to Stafford & Woody Smith, Ball Ventures and the Rotary Club of Idaho Falls for their tremendous generosity. I also wish to mention the hard work and leadership shown by Director Weitzel. We are fortunate to have him at the helm of our Parks and Recreation division,” states Mayor Casper. “This project underscores the city’s commitment to encouraging public-private partnerships for the benefit of all residents – especially ones like this which will leave a positive, lasting impact on our city. This park will become yet another jewel in the city’s greenbelt system,” adds Casper.
The land will be developed into a city park and will be an extension of Ryder Park. The parcel is located at the south end of Snake River Landing, immediately north of the Sunnyside Road Bridge. The section of river next to the proposed park has unique lava rock formations and a beautiful natural waterfall, and is near other parcels of land owned by the Smith family and Ball Ventures.
The agreement states that the land will be developed for the purpose of a city park to include walkways, parking, water features, landscaping, lighting, benches, monuments and other features, and it will be known as “Heritage Park.”
“The Heritage Park theme was conceptualized with the core roots of our community in mind – a community that was developed around the scenic Snake River and that is uniquely vast in agricultural, nuclear and hydroelectric power. This park will represent and celebrate our heritage,” states Stafford Smith. Smith co-owns the land with his brother Woody Smith.
According to Eric Isom, Chief Development Officer of Ball Ventures, LLC, “The creation of Heritage Park is a great example of how individuals, companies, civic organizations and city officials can work together to accomplish amazing things for our community. Our Principal Allen Ball and CEO Cortney Liddiard had the vision of enhancing the riverfront as part of Snake River Landing since the property was purchased and the initial planning began. Our commitment of funds reflects Mr. Ball’s desire to give back to the community that has given so much to him. Improving this riverfront area will not only increase the quality of life for area residents, but will continue to promote further economic development in our city. We are happy to work with the Smith family, the Rotary Club, Mayor Casper and the Idaho Falls City Council and staff to see this vision become a reality.”
Idaho Falls Parks & Recreation Director, Greg A. Weitzel states, “We are humbled by this incredibly generous donation. This shows how much people care about this community and the preservation of our green space. The donors have stepped up and offered a prime, riverfront piece of property. Now it’s time for us to step up and do our best to turn the parcel of land into a beautiful park and extension of the greenbelt to be enjoyed by all,” adds Weitzel.
Over the past 24 years, the Rotary Club of Idaho Falls, through money generated by the Great Snake River Greenbelt Duck Race and grants from the city, has contributed to approximately $2 million in greenbelt improvements and expansions. Past Rotary-funded projects include over 7 miles of running/biking paths, the Trapper statue on B Street & Memorial Drive and the development of the Friendship Garden and Ryder Park.
“Rotary has been committed to raising money to develop and enhance the greenbelt since 1991. We were delighted to partner with the other Heritage Park donors as part of our 2018 Centennial project,” states Kevin Call, member of the Rotary Club of Idaho Falls.
A Heritage Park Development Committee will be established in the next 90 days, and they will spend the next three years planning and developing the property. The city anticipates seeking out local, state, federal and foundation grants, as well as soliciting other businesses, to fund the development piece of the project.
Media Note: For additional information or to arrange interviews, contact Kerry McCullough, Public Information Officer at (208) 612-8122.
About Idaho Falls: Situated along the Snake River at the western edge of the world famous Rocky Mountains, Idaho Falls has all the features of big city living, but still embraces a small town charm. Our skyline consists of the majestic Teton Mountain Range, and in our backyard is the world’s most famous park – Yellowstone. As the regional center for healthcare, shopping, and entertainment, Idaho Falls is attractive to small and large businesses alike and consistently finds itself listed in the top ten rankings of many prestigious magazines, newspapers and professional community research publications. Learn more at http://www.idahofallsidaho.gov/