ADA COUNTY, Idaho — Ada County residents with varied backgrounds -- business, finance, nonprofits, arts, engineering, agriculture and city governments -- are beginning to explore what options they believe would be best for the property that includes Les Bois Park and the fairgrounds now known as Expo Idaho.
The 240-acre site is considered some of the most valuable acreage in the state of Idaho, but a large part of it - Les Bois Park - has been pretty much idle since early 2016.
The newly formed Expo Idaho Citizen's Advisory Committee met for the first time Wednesday.
"We have a lot of folks coming together to engage in envisioning what this great piece of property could actually be," said Kendra Kenyon, an Ada County commissioner. "It really is important right now for us as a commission to get this property put back into the hands of the public -- the public owns it."
Among the options the committee will take a very close look at is the possibility of a multipurpose stadium and surrounding development -- something the Boise Hawks have been trying to put together for three years in the downtown Boise area, to no avail.
Kenyon said the committee meetings will make up the first phase in a process that will include a public-input phase, set to begin in three or four months, after the advisory committee develops some possible scenarios to present. Ultimately, the Ada County Board of Commissioners will decide on the site's future.
"We hope that this group can really look at this property - from the old race track that's shuttered now to the Hawks stadium, which is a little bit up in the air, apparently, even to the (Riverside) RV park down by the river - and walking around here and talking to folks and taking a look at it," Kenyon said.
"They're going to be talking about what the ideal vision would be; if you had a blank canvas, what would you paint here? What would be magical. What would be at the end of 20, 30 years, and you want this to be a legacy property, and you want what they do here to be really special, we want them to take that time and to really get into each other's stories.
"This has been a gathering place for decades for people," Kenyon continued. "There are so many memories here, and those stories are going to come out in this process."
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