Mayor Casper Calls for Next Round of Citizen Review Committee Applications

Idaho Falls, ID: Mayor Casper is calling for applications from city residents who are interested in participating in the 2016 round of Citizen Review Committees. Applications are due Jan. 11, 2016.

Committee service includes review of department priorities given the goals of fidelity to law, solving city problems, economic growth and enhancement of city assets. Committee members will also be asked to assess department strengths and possible weaknesses and to examine the department budgets with the object of cost savings in mind.

The three city departments to be reviewed in the coming year include Human Resources, Legal Services and the Idaho Falls Fire Department. Committee members will be selected and announced by the end of January 2016.

Citizen Review Committees (CRC) were formed to encourage city-wide efficiency and innovation in an open atmosphere. “We want committees that reflect a broad array of interests and opinions about local government,” states Mayor Casper. “A fresh set of eyes has proved to be advantageous for the departments that have undergone review by committee over the past couple of years, and I’m confident this will prove to be true for these three departments,” adds Casper.

Casper began working on establishing Citizen Review Committees to provide a top-to-bottom review of all eleven city departments just prior to taking office in December 2013. Eight of the departments were reviewed in 2014 & 2015. The reports and department responses can be found on the CRC webpage.

A link to the CRC applications can be found on the home page of city’s website at www.idahofallsidaho.gov or in the Mayor’s Office located inside City Hall, 308 Constitution Way, Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Media Note: For additional information or to schedule an interview with city staff, contact Public Information Officer, Kerry McCullough at (208) 821-6321 or kmccullough@idahofallsidaho.gov.

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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/

Emergency Alert Testing Scheduled for Tomorrow

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho: Bonneville County Emergency Management will be conducting a test of the emergency alert system sirens throughout Idaho Falls and Ammon on Wednesday, Nov. 25 at 10:00 a.m. The sirens will sound for approximately 40 seconds.

This is ONLY a test. There is no need to call emergency services with this activation. In the event the emergency alert sirens are used in a real event, you should tune in to your local news source for information and instructions regarding the disaster and/or emergency that may be occurring.

The sirens are an outdoor warning system intended to prompt those who may not be near a radio, television or other news source during a real emergency to seek out the reason(s) for the siren activation.

For additional information contact Tom Lenderink, Director, Office of Emergency Management, Bonneville County Emergency Management at (208) 529-1223 or tlenderink@co.bonneville.id.us.

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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/

About Bonneville County Emergency Management: Manmade or natural, emergencies or disasters can strike at any time. The Office of Emergency Management provides leadership, planning, education and resources to protect lives, property, and the environment in the event an emergency or disaster was to strike Bonneville County. Emergency Management works with County departments, local governments, volunteer organizations and the private sector in and around Bonneville County to develop disaster preparedness plans, and provide training and exercise activities.

City Acquires Transfer & Control of Idaho’s Oldest Rodeo – The War Bonnet Roundup Rodeo

Idaho Falls, ID – At today’s City Council work session, Parks & Recreation Director, Greg A. Weitzel apprised the Council on the transfer of property and control of the War Bonnet Roundup Rodeo – Idaho’s oldest rodeo – to the City of Idaho Falls.

The rodeo has been managed by The American Legion Department of Idaho Post 56, a 501(c), nonprofit veteran’s organization for many years, but it has grown to the point that the Legion is having difficulty managing the event.

The War Bonnet Roundup Rodeo is sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association. Over 15,000 people attend the rodeo every year. Last year the rodeo saw a record breaking 477 cowboys and cowgirls registered to participate in the event.

“The War Bonnet Roundup is an important part of eastern Idaho’s culture and tradition, and we are very passionate about maintaining and building upon that legacy,” states Weitzel. “The American Legion has done a fantastic job managing the event over the years. Their institutional knowledge of the intricacies of the rodeo is invaluable, and we will continue to have them be an integral part of the event moving forward,” adds Weitzel.

The historic rodeo which will celebrate its 105th anniversary in 2016, is held at Sandy Downs, a facility owned and maintained by the City of Idaho Falls. “Many rodeos throughout the United States are run by cities because they bring in a great deal of revenue and positive economic impact,” says Mayor Casper. “Over the years, our Parks & Recreation Department has honed their capabilities and expertise in rodeo management and have the necessary resources and personnel needed to operate a large event such as the rodeo,” adds Casper.

Weitzel says, “This rodeo is so successful because of all of the dedicated sponsors and volunteers who continue to be involved year after year, and we are always looking for more help. If you are interested in being part of this historic event, please contact the Parks & Recreation Department.”

The Legion will sell and transfer the rodeo to the city free and clear, with the agreement that the Legion operate grandstand concessions during the rodeo for three years with an option of a two year extension. The Legion will pay 15 percent of the rodeo concession to the City of Idaho Falls.

Bob Skinner, Commander of American Legion Post 56, agrees with Weitzel when it comes to the city’s expertise and abilities as they take over the reins. “The time is right to transfer the responsibility to a larger organization which will allow this great asset to grow even bigger and better. We look forward to working side-by-side with the city to help this great event become a destination rodeo for all people in the west and beyond,” says Skinner.

Media Note: For additional information or to schedule an interview with city staff, contact Kerry McCullough, public information officer, at (208) 821-6321 or kmccullough@idahofallsidaho.gov.

Photo: 2015 War Bonnet Roundup Rodeo. Photo courtesy of Mark Richardson & Matt Balderee

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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/

Road Closures for Idaho Falls Light Parade

Idaho Falls, ID – The Idaho Falls Police Department will be closing some downtown roads on Saturday, Nov. 28, between 4:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. in preparation for the Idaho Falls Light Parade. The parade starts at 6:00 p.m.

Road Closures & Parking Restrictions:

  • Riverside Drive from the Idaho Falls Temple to the E Street roundabout.
  • Memorial Drive from the E Street Roundabout to Broadway Street.
  • A Street between Memorial Street & Capital Avenue.
  • Capital Avenue between A Street & E Street.
  • E Street between Capital Avenue & Memorial Drive.

No parking will be permitted on the streets listed above for the duration of the event.

For additional questions about the road closures and parking restrictions, contact Sgt. Alan Bowers with the Idaho Falls Police Department at (208) 612-8200.

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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/

Construction Notice – 17th Street Water Leak Repair

Idaho Falls, ID – On Wednesday, Nov. 25, the City of Idaho Falls will be repairing a leaking water valve on 17th Street.

The right lane of west-bound roadway, between 25th E. (Hitt Road) and Ashment Avenue, will be closed while the Water Division complete repair work.

Construction will begin at 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 24 and is expected to continue through the morning commute, completing at approximately 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Barring any unforeseen conditions, all local businesses will be accessible during construction.

Please watch for equipment and workers and follow all traffic signs and flaggers.

For questions, contact the Water Division at (208) 612-8471. For information on all city of Idaho Falls construction projects, see website.

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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/

Public Notice – Long Range Transportation Conditions & Needs

Idaho Falls, ID – The Bonneville Metropolitan Planning Organization (BMPO) will hold a public meeting to discuss the long range transportation conditions and needs for the BMPO planning area on December 9 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Targhee Regional Public Transportation Authority (TRPTA), located at 1810 W. Broadway, Idaho Falls.

BMPO is an agency designated by the Governor of Idaho to conduct a continuing, comprehensive and cooperative transportation planning process in the urbanized area. The agency is under the direction of elected officials from the cities of Ammon, Idaho Falls, Iona, Ucon and the urbanized portions of Bonneville County and TRPTA, in conjunction with the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD).

Under the requirements of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA), every five years BMPO has the responsibility to update a 25-year Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) for the planning area.

For those who would like to review the information prior to the meeting or are unable to attend the meeting, the presentation information will be made available on the BMPO website. Please send comments to BMPO, 1810 W. Broadway, Suite 15, Idaho Falls, ID, 83402, or call (208) 612-8530 or email at bmpo@bmpo.org.

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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/

Festival of Lights at Freeman Park – A New Holiday Tradition!

Idaho Falls, ID: Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation is proud to announce a new holiday light display that’s sure to become a holiday tradition – Festival of Lights at Freeman Park!

Gather your family and friends and head out for a festive, magical and memorable light display experience that’s sure to delight all ages. Festival of Lights at Freeman Park is a drive-thru display that will feature more than 70 animated holiday scenes, light color changing trees, music and so much more!

While there, visit with Santa and enjoy hot cocoa or a holiday snack in the heated pavilion, or relax on a horse-drawn wagon while you ride around the enchanted winter wonderland.

“We are so excited to bring this new attraction to the city,” states Greg A. Weitzel, parks & recreation director. “Not only are we providing a new holiday tradition for our community, but some of the proceeds will go into an improvement fund to assist with upgrades to our parks & recreation facilities such as the ice arena and Aquatic Center,” adds Weitzel.

Festival of Lights at Freeman Park will span the holiday season from Nov. 27 to Dec. 31 from 5:00 – 9:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday and 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Looking for something to do on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? The display will be open then too!

Tickets can be purchased upon entry into the park. The entrance fee is $10 per carload or $15 for oversized or commercial-sized vehicles. An active military discount is available at $5 per vehicle with a military ID, and a discount of $5 per vehicle is available on Wednesdays. Wagon rides and visits with Santa are included in the price.

For a map of the route, see our webpage or visit us at the Rec Center at 520 Memorial Drive. Do you have a favorite light display? Take a picture and share it on the Festival of Lights at Freeman Park Facebook page! We’d love to hear your feedback!

Freeman Park will be closed to foot traffic, sledding and other activities for the duration of the festival. However, the river walk path adjacent to the Snake River will remain open.

DESIGN

The city contracted with a Utah couple, Sonny & LeAnn Gilbert, to design and install the lights. Sonny, an auto body repairman by trade, and LeAnn, a school teacher, combined their talents of steelwork and creative activities for children into a business of their own. In 2002, the Gilberts joined forces with a local artist, Kurt Molton and began creating light figures from a shop in their backyard.

Some of the Gilbert’s prior displays include an animated drive-thru light park at Willard Bay State Park; an animated Halloween light park seen at Thanksgiving Point and American West Heritage Center; and Zoo Lights at Hogle Zoo. The Gilberts also designed some of the lights for Boo at the Zoo – Idaho Falls Zoo’s most popular Halloween fundraising event.

SPONSORS

The event is sponsored by Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, Westmark Credit Union, Riverbend Communications, Idaho Central Credit Union and KIFI Local News 8.

Media Note: For additional information or to schedule an interview with city staff, contact Kerry McCullough directly at (208) 821-6321or kmccullough@idahofallsidaho.gov.

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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/.

IFPD Property Unit Receives High Rating

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho: The Idaho Falls Police Department Property and Evidence Unit earned elite status in achieving an overall rating of “Above Standard (Minus)” from DB Consulting following a September audit.

Only eight property units from more than 70 law enforcement agencies audited by DB Consulting have received this status. DB Consulting also noted the current operation of the IFPD Property Unit as one of the six best property units they have audited.

“We are extremely proud and elated to receive this rating from DB Consulting,” Idaho Falls Police Chief Mark McBride said. “It speaks volumes of the hard work and dedication of our property and evidence unit staff. They are doing a phenomenal job.”

DB Consulting audited the unit over a two-day period, Sept. 15-16. Auditors reviewed multiple areas including staffing, policies and procedures, facilities and equipment, security and workplace safety. All of the areas were reviewed under the standards and guidelines set forth by the International Association for Property and Evidence (IAPE) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).

Auditors said that despite the disadvantage of working in facilities too small for current operations, the IFPD Property Unit Staff has “assumed ‘ownership’ of the operation and have worked hard to improve upon an already excellent operation.”

“The IFPD Property Unit is clearly one of the best managed and supported property units that I have audited,” as stated in the final audit report.

The “Above Standard (Minus)” rating is the highest any law enforcement agency has received.

“I commend Chief McBride and his staff for the excellent management of the property and evidence unit. High quality personnel is critical to the success of the police department in terms of maintaining the integrity of operations. This audit is a testament of the staff’s commitment to maintaining high law enforcement standards and implementing best practices,” says Mayor Casper.

For additional information regarding this release, contact Joelyn Hansen at (208) 589-3091, (208) 612-8655 or jhansen@idahofallsidaho.gov.

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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 on our website.

About Idaho Falls Police Department: The Idaho Falls Police Department strives to create an environment free from crime and disorder through efficient service and valuable community collaboration. The dominant values of the Idaho Falls Police Department are: (1) Integrity (2) Professionalism (3) Respect (4) and Trust. Values are the most fundamental beliefs by which the organization operates. They serve as a foundation on which leadership and management are provided and decisions are made. The values established by this department are non-negotiable, and are constantly held before the employees and the community. Learn more on our website.

Local Company Donates Security Camera for Tautphaus Park

Idaho Falls, ID – At a recent City Council meeting, 4Sight Security – a locally owned and operated security system company – announced the donation of a $30k security camera to be used at Tautphaus Park.

“We lose thousands of dollars every year due to vandalism and theft. I’ve been a proponent of security cameras in our parks for many, many years. We would like to thank 4Sight Security for coming forward with a proposal better than what we could’ve ever hoped for, states City Council President, Mike Lehto.

A series of break-ins and vandalism at Idaho Falls Zoo earlier this year prompted the initial purchase and installation of security cameras inside the zoo.

4Sight Security was at the zoo installing the new equipment just days before the stabbing at a nearby playground inside Tautphaus Park on Aug. 16. The company recognized the need for additional security and offered to be part of the solution.

“We wanted to do something for the city that has done so much for us. This is our city too, and we want to help keep our neighbors safe,” states Mark Blackburn, owner of 4Sight Security.

The security system combines the DarkFighter Intelligent PTZ with nine additional enhanced 3-megapixel spotting cameras. The cameras will focus on a 360° view around the PTZ camera as well as at the Skate Park and playground nearby.

The cameras also have the capability of monitoring the park during the day and at night, and the system can be accessed from any internet-enabled device, anywhere in the world, at any time.

Idaho Falls Mayor Casper states, “I would like to thank our Parks & Recreation Department and the Idaho Falls Police Department for prioritizing the expansion of our security at Tautphaus Park. This is definitely a step in the right direction. While cameras in public places don’t prevent every possible instance of violence or destruction of property, people will think twice about their actions. It’s about keeping our community safe and about protecting our assets.”

Photo: Tautphaus Park

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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/

City of Idaho Falls Receives Idaho Smart Growth Award

Idaho Falls, ID: The City of Idaho Falls was presented with the 2015 Redevelopment Award for the River Gardens at Taylor’s Crossing project at the 11th annual Idaho Smart Awards Celebration in Boise last week. This is the third award the city has received over the past two years for this project.

The River Gardens at Taylor’s Crossing project, designed by Rock Solid Landscape, transformed 1,400 linear feet along the Snake River in Idaho Falls from an unusable and dangerous riverbank into a two-acre park with picnic areas, outdoor amphitheater, walking paths and fishing piers. The project also included the planting of perennials, trees and sod grasses; placement of boulder retaining walls; and establishing ADA access to the river.

Smart growth describes a range of community decisions regarding land use, transportation, housing, development patterns and the preservation of cultural identity and natural beauty. Smart growth actions equally benefit a community’s economy, environment and its citizens. Each year, Idaho Smart Growth celebrates projects from around the state that exemplify smart growth principles. Submissions are reviewed by a jury of experts, and awards are given in a variety of categories.

“This project couldn’t have happened without the vision, dedication, fundraising efforts and generosity of our community partners – McNeil Development, Idaho Falls Redevelopment Agency, Rotary Club of Idaho Falls, Idaho Falls Power and Rock Solid Landscape,” states Greg A. Weitzel, parks & recreation director.

“City leaders recognize the river walk as a significant asset to our community. It provides a beautiful and wholesome recreational environment for residents and guests. I am committed to maintaining, upgrading and, where possible, expanding the river walk so future generations can enjoy it as we do,” states Mayor Casper.

“We also offer a hearty congratulations to Snake River Landing for receiving the Green Building award for Bandon Apartments, a LEED Platinum senior living facility.  LEED Platinum is a difficult standard to meet,” adds Casper.

Other award recipients:

Citizen Advocacy: Hillside to Hollow. The development process for this site plan, which will protect more than 300 acres of open space in the City of Boise, included a concerted effort to encourage input and partnerships among citizens, nonprofit organizations, private landowners and government agencies.

Commercial: Belwood 301. This renovation of a historic 20,000 square-foot empty building into a mixed-use complex in downtown Sandpoint used high standards for energy efficiency and green products and systems.

Green Building: Bandon Apartments. The new 48-unit senior apartment building in Idaho Falls, a part of the Snake River Landing mixed-use redevelopment, earned LEED Platinum certification.

Mixed-Use: Surrel’s Place. A modern live-work and gallery space for an artist-in-residency program in Garden City supports the city’s flourishing art scene and encourages community involvement. It was formerly the home of the late artist, Surel Mitchell.

Public Policy: Communities in Motion 2040. The regional long-term transportation plan for Ada and Canyon counties supports many smart growth principles and encompasses multiple progressive planning elements.

Transportation: West Bridge. This new bike/pedestrian bridge across the Boise River provides essential connectivity between the northern and southern sections of the Garden City Greenbelt and beyond.

Transportation: 27th St. Main to State. This project in Boise changed a dangerous four-lane through-way into a neighborhood amenity by adding bike lanes, a two-way left turn lane and parking for adjacent commercial buildings.

Charles Hummel Award: Nancy Chanel. This award is given by the Idaho Smart Growth board of directors in honor of architect, civic leader and Idaho Smart Growth co-founder, Charles Hummel. The 2015 award is given to Nancy Chaney, former Moscow council member and mayor, for her longtime smart growth leadership and advocacy.

Idaho Smart Growth is a statewide nonprofit organization that brings people together to create great places to live. For more information call (208) 333-8066 or see website.

Media Note: For additional information or to schedule an interview with city staff, contact Kerry McCullough directly at (208) 821-6321or kmccullough@idahofallsidaho.gov.

Photo: Smart Growth Award (left to right): Kate Eldridge, President, Idaho Smart Growth; Greg A. Weitzel, I.F. Parks & Rec Director; Nate Durtschi, Owner/Designer, Rock Solid Landscape

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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/.

About Idaho Smart Growth: With many years of experience building coalition, conducting assessments, completing research, and providing training and presentations, Idaho Smart Growth helps planners, elected officials, developers, engineers, bike/ped advocates, health care professionals, teachers, and parents to use planning tools to create safe and healthy communities. Learn more at http://www.idahosmartgrowth.org/.