Idaho Falls Zoo Receives Education & Water Conservation Grants

Idaho Falls, ID – The Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park was recently awarded two grants, totaling $9,500 that will assist with continued efforts at expanding zoo educational programs and water conservation efforts.

A $1,000 grant from North Wind, combined with a $500 grant from Leichtweis Enterprise, will fund the development of a series of STEM-based (Science, Technology, Energy & Math) exploration stations for all ages throughout the zoo.  The interactive stations will highlight the zoo’s animal inhabitants and emphasize how awareness of the natural world and conservation of resources benefits us all.

The zoo has seen a record-breaking number of visitors this year, including more than 7,500 children that came through the zoo in April and May on school trips. Visitors came from all over Idaho and as far as western Wyoming and southeastern Montana.

“The grants will allow us to provide more personal educational experiences for our guests. We thank the generous donors for their contributions and look forward to introducing the exploration stations next spring,” states Zoo Superintendent David Pennock.

The zoo was also awarded an $8,000 Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation grant to go toward an $81,000 water conservation project. The zoo has already obtained more than $61,000 in cash donations and value-in-kind services. The plan includes major alterations to the zoo’s water systems that will reduce monthly water usage from 2.3 million gallons to 2,500 gallons.

“The zoo has more than 330 animals that need continuous access to water, including several aquatic or semi-aquatic animal species such as penguins, river otters and waterfowl,” explains Pennock. “As a result, the zoo uses large quantities of water.  Water use at the zoo is magnified by aging water systems that are inefficient and result in the waste of millions of gallons of water each month. The systems were developed and installed at a time when little consideration was given for the conservation of water. One of the core missions of the zoo is the conservation of all natural resources which includes being better stewards of one of our most precious resources,” adds Pennock.

Conservation efforts have focused on two main ponds at the zoo. The first pond provides a home for the white pelicans and various species of water fowl including the tundra swans. Nearby is the second outdoor pond for a colony of 18 endangered black-footed penguins.  To correct the major water usage at the two largest ponds, appropriate pumps, filters, and aeration systems are being added, and the bottom of the duck pond has been cemented and sealed.  When complete, each pool will re-circulate water independently.

In addition, many animal enclosures throughout the zoo have small concrete pools for animals to drink and bath in. Appropriate systems will be installed in the 18 smaller pools to make them more efficient and capable of withstanding freezing temperatures.

Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper states, “The employees have done a tremendous job to ensure that the animals and environment are cared for and protected, and that the public has access to quality educational opportunities. We extend our gratitude to North Wind, Leichtweis Enterprise and the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation for partnering with the zoo in these efforts.”

Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with zoo staff, contact Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon.

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About Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park:   With more than 330 animals representing over 130 species from around the globe, the Idaho Falls Zoo has the largest collection of animals in the state and is considered the “Best Little Zoo in the West.” The Idaho Falls Zoo is also the first zoo in Idaho to be accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and sees an average of 123,000 visitors annually which is 211 percent of the population of Idaho Falls and 119 percent of the population of Bonneville County. Learn more on our website.

About Tautphaus Park Zoological Society: TPZS has been an active supporter of the Idaho Falls Zoo since its formation in 1992. In 2015, TPZS raised over $80,000 to fund a new education center at the zoo.

Trailer Fire on Elswood Drive

Idaho Falls, ID:  On August 26, 2016 at 11:41 a.m., the Idaho Falls Fire Department was dispatched to 3430 E. Elswood Drive for a structure fire.

The department responded with three engines, two ambulances, a battalion chief and a safety officer. Upon arrival, crews found a trailer with smoke coming from the eves and gables.

Crews attacked the fire by making entry through the front door. The fire in the kitchen was quickly extinguished. An aggressive approach and overhaul kept the fire contained to the kitchen. The homeowner was treated and transported to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.

The estimated damage is $25,000. The cause of the fire was due to an unattended pan left on the stovetop.

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The Idaho Falls Fire Department would like to take this time to remind homeowners to be safe and never leave a pan or pot cooking on the stovetop unattended.

For additional information, contact Battalion Chief Paul Radford at (208) 680-4321

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About Idaho Falls Fire Department:  The mission of the Idaho Falls Fire Department is to protect the lives and property of the citizens and visitors of Idaho Falls by providing the highest possible levels of service through fire prevention, public education, fire suppression, emergency medical services, and mitigation of the effects of natural and man-made disasters consistent with the resources provided as desired and dictated by the citizens and elected officials of the City of Idaho Falls. The department serves population of approximately 85,000 residents occupying approximately 250 square miles. The area includes the City of Idaho Falls and the Bonneville County Fire Protection District. The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) division serves a population of approximately 118,000 residents occupying approximately 1900 square miles. The area includes Bonneville County and portions of Bingham and Jefferson counties. The IFFD EMS responses for 2008 numbered just over 8,200.Learn more on our website.

E. 17th Street Night Closures

Idaho Falls, ID – Knife River will be installing new water service lines on E. 17th Street, between S. Holmes Avenue and St. Clair Road, Monday, August 29 to Friday, September 2. Traffic will be impacted.

Each evening, from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., eastbound and westbound traffic will be reduced to one lane and the center turn lane will be closed. All lanes will be closed to through traffic between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Motorists should plan alternative routes during this time. All lanes will re-open at 5 a.m.

For questions or concerns, contact Knife River at (208) 523-8282 or Public Works at (208) 612-8250.

Please watch for equipment and workers, follow all traffic signs and flaggers, and reduce speeds to posted limits.

Additional information on City of Idaho Falls construction projects can be found on the homepage of the city’s website or by clicking HERE.

Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with city staff, contact Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon.

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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 embraces a small town charm. Our skyline consists of the majestic Teton Mountain Range, and in our backyard is the world’s most famous national park – Yellowstone. As the regional center for healthcare, science & technology, shopping and entertainment, Idaho Falls is an attractive location for small and large businesses alike. Idaho Falls consistently finds itself listed in the top ten rankings of many prestigious magazines, newspapers and professional community research publications.  Learn more on our website.

Developer Selected for Bonneville Hotel Renovation

Idaho Falls, ID – The Idaho Falls Redevelopment Agency is pleased to announce that The Housing Company, Myers Anderson Architects and Bateman-Hall General Contractors were selected for the renovation of the historic Bonneville Hotel.

In February, the agency issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to developers for renovation plans for the structure.  Three proposals were received. After eliciting input on the proposals, a public meeting was held on August 18 where the applicants were able to make presentations regarding their approaches.  The proposals and public comment were reviewed, and the agency selected the development team during a meeting on August 25, 2016 based on goals and criteria outlined in the RFP.

Agency Chair Lee Radford stated, “This was a very difficult decision, as we had to decide between excellent proposals. The proposals were submitted by experienced and creative groups. After extensive consideration, we chose to proceed with the proposal presented by The Housing Company. We appreciate the contributions of these developers and their commitment to improving downtown Idaho Falls, and we look forward to the successful completion of this important project.”

The project will be a mixed-use development with commercial, retail, restaurant and residential spaces. The residential spaces will include studio, one bedroom and two bedroom units.

The agency states that it is paramount that the exterior facades and features of the building be renewed or restored. Much of the historic interior detail has been removed throughout the years and will be modernized to fit the needs of the potential tenants moving in. The proposed plan also includes a roof deck at the second level that will be accessible to both commercial and residential occupants. The deck will include landscaping and exterior amenities for dining, events and relaxation.

“The Housing Company, Myers Anderson Architects and Bateman-Hall Contractors are proud to have been selected by the Idaho Falls Redevelopment Agency for the renovation of the iconic Bonneville Hotel. We look forward to working with the Agency in finalizing a plan that will benefit the community for many years to come,” stated Douglas Peterson, director of The Housing Company.

The estimated project cost is $10 million. Approximately $440K will be funded by the agency while the majority of the funding will be provided by housing and historic preservation tax credits.

The development team will meet individually with the current tenants in good standing to find reasonable and comparable housing in the area.

The next steps include finalizing agreements and plans. Construction is scheduled to begin in November of 2017.

Media Note: For additional information or to schedule an interview with the Redevelopment Agency, contact Lee Radford or Brad Cramer.

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About the Idaho Falls Redevelopment Agency: The Idaho Falls Redevelopment Agency began work in the Snake River Urban Renewal District in 1988 and reconstructed Lindsay Boulevard, Utah Avenue, Wardell Avenue, a portion of Milligan Road, and Memorial Drive with the tax proceeds from new development.  As part of this street reconstruction, the Agency installed water and sewer lines and storm drainage.  The Agency also financed the relocation of transmission lines to spur development east of I-15.  With the efforts of the Agency and others, the assessed valuation of the district has increased by over $140 million. The Snake River district will end on December 31, 2018, although the Agency may continue to receive the increment into 2019.

History of the Property: The Bonneville Hotel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. The hotel was designed by the H.L. Stevens Company of San Francisco in the tradition of Italian Renaissance. H.L. Stevens was an architectural firm with offices in New York City, Chicago and San Francisco. The firm specialized in hotels with less than 500 rooms and designed their hotels in a rectangle or H-shape. The Bonneville was constructed by the Idaho Falls Hotel Corporation, a group of 421 local citizens spearheaded by the Chamber of Commerce. The Corporation was formed to bring a first class hotel to Idaho Falls, one which contained meeting facilities. The location was on the entrance way to downtown. The railroad station sat on the eastern end of Constitution Way (then “C” Street) and the Bonneville County Courthouse on the western end. In 1951, a five story addition was added to the north of the 1927 hotel. The addition is comparable to the original hotel. When constructed in 1927, the hotel contained 74 rooms. Today it contains 63 residential apartments, two commercial spaces/apartments, and a vacant ground-floor restaurant/bar.

Final Weekend Road Closure of S. Holmes Avenue

Idaho Falls, ID – Beginning Friday, August 26 at 7 p.m., S. Holmes Avenue will be closed from 1st Street to 5th Street for paving. Traffic will be detoured. The road will reopen on Mon., August 29 at 7 a.m.

Motorists should plan alternate routes for travel in this area, both day and night, over the weekend. There will continue to be access to businesses on S. Holmes Avenue from the side streets.

On Monday, June 13, HK Contactors began working on the waterline replacement project on S. Holmes Avenue from 1st Street to Cleveland Street. The project includes replacement of water, storm and sewer systems; curb, gutter and utility crossings; sidewalk repair at the utility crossings; base gravel; and asphalt paving.

Please watch for equipment and workers, follow all traffic signs and flaggers, and reduce speeds to posted limits.

We appreciate the community’s patience as we finish the final phases of this project.

For questions, contact HK Contractors at (208) 523-6600 or the City of Idaho Falls Public Works Department at (208) 612-8250.

Additional information on City of Idaho Falls construction projects can be found on the homepage of the city’s website or by clicking HERE.

Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with city staff, contact Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon.

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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 embraces a small town charm. Our skyline consists of the majestic Teton Mountain Range, and in our backyard is the world’s most famous national park – Yellowstone. As the regional center for healthcare, science & technology, shopping and entertainment, Idaho Falls is an attractive location for small and large businesses alike. Idaho Falls consistently finds itself listed in the top ten rankings of many prestigious magazines, newspapers and professional community research publications.  Learn more on our website.

South Tourist Park Closed for Construction

Idaho Falls, ID – South Tourist Park, located at 2800 S. Yellowstone, will be closed for construction beginning Tuesday, September 6.

Construction activities include leveling, regrading and resurfacing the lower parking lot. New curb and gutter will also be installed.

The boat ramp at the park will be closed for the duration of the project.  Boaters are directed to use either Gem Lake or John’s Hole Bridge to launch their boats.

The RV dump station will remain open.

Barring unforeseen conditions, the estimated project completion time is 60 days.

Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with city staff, contact Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon.

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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 embraces a small town charm. Our skyline consists of the majestic Teton Mountain Range, and in our backyard is the world’s most famous national park – Yellowstone. As the regional center for healthcare, science & technology, shopping and entertainment, Idaho Falls is an attractive location for small and large businesses alike. Idaho Falls consistently finds itself listed in the top ten rankings of many prestigious magazines, newspapers and professional community research publications.  Learn more on our website.

St. Clair Homeowners Association Partners with City to Build Neighborhood Park

Idaho Falls, ID: It started with a vision six years ago, and this summer it became a reality. Thanks to a partnership with the St. Clair Homeowners Association, City of Idaho Falls Parks & Recreation Department and neighborhood volunteers, children in the St. Clair subdivision are playing basketball, sliding down the spiral slide and playing tag with their friends in the open space that once was only a city storm retention pond.

Six years ago, the association had a vision of creating a neighborhood park. They then shared the idea with homeowners, a vote was cast, and plans for raising the necessary funds commenced.

For six years the association set aside a portion of the HOA dues in anticipation of donating money to build a new neighborhood park. With the additional money raised from a neighborhood garage sale, donations from such organizations as Vantage Homes, a partnership with the Parks & Recreation Department and patient persistence, that vision became a reality.

After realizing the expertise needed and the labor cost associated with installing the new equipment on city property, the association reached out to partner with staff in the city’s Parks & Recreation Department for guidance and planning assistance. “We are extremely grateful for their help and consider city staff a blessing,” states the association’s Architect Committee Chair Prish Mordan. “They remained by our sides guiding us through the entire research, planning and building process. We couldn’t have done this project without them or all the volunteers from the neighborhood,” explains Mordan. An estimated 300 volunteer hours were dedicated to the installation and cleanup efforts of the new park and equipment.

Approximately $41,000 was raised by the association to purchase the new playground equipment, fencing around the retention pond, basketball hoops and asphalt pad for the new basketball court. The association has plans to add to the park in the future.

“The City Park and Cemetery Division has been a great resource to our community,” stated St. Clair Estates Homeowners Association President Scott Ferguson in a letter to Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper. “Supervisor, Brent Martin made himself available to our community for the planning, and his team has been invaluable in their assistance to set up our playground equipment and mark the layout of our park,” he said.

Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper said, “It is always great when neighbors come together, but when they cooperate and work hard to build something like this that will allow children to play outdoors and enable families to have space for gatherings, that is especially powerful. Think of the example of effort and accomplishment that the children of this neighborhood have learned. It is tremendous. I thank the residents of the St. Clair HOA for their generous contribution to the City of Idaho Falls. Partnerships such as this are key to strengthening our community – neighborhood by neighborhood, child by child,” adds Casper.

“We appreciate the St. Clair Homeowners Association. This is a type of partnership we would like to encourage throughout the community to continue improving neighborhoods in our city,” stated Parks & Recreation Director, Greg A. Weitzel during a recent Parks & Recreation Commission meeting.

Other city neighborhoods with open space that are requesting to develop neighborhood amenities such as this should contact the city’s Parks & Recreation Department. All contributions of equipment, fencing, and other materials used to develop a lot become city property, and the public is entitled to use the space. As neighborhood open spaces and retention basins are not widely accessible, it is mostly the immediate residents who benefit from the creation of this kind of small neighborhood park.

Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with city staff, contact Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon.

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About Idaho Falls Parks & Recreation: The mission of the City of Idaho Falls Parks & Recreation Department is to provide quality parks and recreation opportunities based upon cost efficiency and community needs. Learn more on our website.

Water Service Line Repair on 1st Street

Idaho Falls, ID – The city of Idaho Falls will repair a water service line at the 1300 block of 1st Street, from Lincoln Drive to N.W. Bonneville Drive, on Wednesday, August 24. Traffic will be impacted.

East and westbound traffic will be reduced to one lane, and traffic restrictions are anticipated to remain in place throughout the day.

Barring unforeseen conditions, the repair will not affect water service to surrounding homes and should be completed by Wednesday evening.

Please watch for equipment and workers, follow all traffic signs and flaggers, and reduce speeds to posted limits.

For questions, call the city’s Water Division at (208) 612-8471.

Additional information on City of Idaho Falls construction projects can be found on the homepage of the city’s website or by clicking HERE.

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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 embraces a small town charm. Our skyline consists of the majestic Teton Mountain Range, and in our backyard is the world’s most famous national park – Yellowstone. As the regional center for healthcare, science & technology, shopping and entertainment, Idaho Falls is an attractive location for small and large businesses alike. Idaho Falls consistently finds itself listed in the top ten rankings of many prestigious magazines, newspapers and professional community research publications.  Learn more on our website.

Cliff Street/Maple Street & Yellowstone Avenue Traffic Signal Out of Service

Idaho Falls, ID – Motorists are encouraged to use caution at the Cliff Street/Maple Street & Yellowstone Avenue intersection. The traffic signal is out of service and will be for approximately 4-6 weeks.

The traffic signal, owned by the state but maintained by the City of Idaho Falls, is undergoing repairs after the signal cabinet which houses the controls to the light was damaged following a motor vehicle accident on Yellowstone Avenue on August 13.

Two-way stop signs have been placed at Cliff Street/Maple Street. However, traffic traveling north and south on Yellowstone Avenue does not have to stop.

Motorists are encouraged to slow down and use caution at the intersection. The speed limit through the intersection is 25 MPH.

We appreciate the community’s patience as we work with the state and the railroad to make the necessary repairs.

Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with city staff, contact Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon.

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About Public Works:  The Public Works Department consists of six divisions. The Engineering Division provides Survey, Design and Project Management services to the rest of Public Works and other city divisions. The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Division coordinates Mapping and Informational Services with other city divisions.  The Sanitation Division provides solid waste collection and disposal. The Sewer Division provides sanitary sewage collection and treatment for the city and areas in Bonneville County; and storm water collection and treatment for the city.  The Street Division maintains the streets, bridges, alleys, and public parking lots. The Water Division provides and distributes potable water.

Idaho Falls Division Chief Designated Chief Training Officer

Idaho Falls, ID:  Idaho Falls Fire Department Division Chief Jeff Parsons was designated Chief Training Officer by the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) during the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) conference in San Antonio, Texas last night. Parsons is only one of two in the fire service to receive such a designation in the state of Idaho.

This award is bestowed to members of the fire service that, through peer assessment have met the highest industry competencies for their position. There are only 83 CPSE designated Chief Training Officers in the United States.

“We are proud to congratulate Division Chief Jeff Parsons,” states Idaho Falls Fire Department Chief Dave Hanneman. “This distinct recognition is a reflection of his dedication to keeping fellow firefighters and this community safe. This is the kind of progressive leadership that ensures that this department will continue to meet and exceed industry standards,” adds Hanneman.

Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper said, “I offer Chief Parsons my heartfelt congratulations.  This honor speaks highly of the caliber of our fire department and underscores the leadership role the Idaho Falls Fire Department has in Idaho and surrounding states.”

Last year, Parsons received the Fire Officer designation and was the first fire service member in the state of Idaho to receive this designation. Idaho Falls Division Chief Paul Radford was the second. There are currently only three CPSE designated Fire Officers in the state of Idaho.

The department was also selected as one of only five departments to be showcased in a video during the IAFC conference in San Antonio.

The Training Division of the Idaho Falls Fire Department was started in the fall of 2015. The division, led by Parsons, manages training for on-duty personnel and new recruits, as well as the Target Solutions training platform. Parsons also serves as the safety officer for the department.

CPSE is a not-for-profit corporation and is a primary resource for the fire and emergency profession to improve services to provide a higher quality of life for communities. According to their website, CPSE has successfully helped local public safety agencies around the world streamline and improve the services they provide their communities.

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About Idaho Falls Fire Department:  The mission of the Idaho Falls Fire Department is to protect the lives and property of the citizens and visitors of Idaho Falls by providing the highest possible levels of service through fire prevention, public education, fire suppression, emergency medical services, and mitigation of the effects of natural and man-made disasters consistent with the resources provided as desired and dictated by the citizens and elected officials of the City of Idaho Falls. The department serves the City of Idaho Falls and the Bonneville County Fire Protection District. In 2015, the department provided an unmatched level of service at 4,011 engine responses and 8,666 ambulance calls.  Learn more on our website.