CALDWELL, Idaho — It’s hard to imagine downtown Caldwell now without thinking about Indian Creek Plaza, and the resurgence that’s come along with it for the downtown area.
This week the plaza is celebrating its first anniversary.
Keri Smith-Sigman, CEO of Destination Caldwell, said she heard from a lot of naysayers she was working on bringing the plaza to Caldwell years ago.
“My dad was one of the people that told me 'you’re never going to get through the local politics,'” Smith-Sigman said. “'It’s a waste of your time Keri, don’t do it.'”
Now she gets the last laugh as the community has come to fully embrace the plaza and everything it brings with it.
“We are the living room of the community,” she said. “You’ve got moms with pure looks of joy on their face while they watch their kids play.”
Destination Caldwell is a nonprofit that tries to sell Caldwell as Idaho’s best gathering place, and part of that pitch is by showing off the plaza.
“It took a long time to get here,” Smith-Sigman said.
The plaza offers the Caldwell and surrounding communities a place to come and gather. Kids can be seen running through the splash pad during the summer months, or ice skating in the winter.
In addition to those two activities, the plaza also is the host to several events throughout the week. The events depend on the season.
During the summer months, people can come down on Tuesday nights to the Farm to Fork farmer’s market. On Thursdays, there is a family movie night, and starting this Friday, there will be a new event called Uncorked at 4 which will be a networking opportunity.
“It’s been more than I envisioned, honestly," Smith-Sigman said. "I’m still in awe every time we fill this whole space."
The plaza is a place the community has come to embrace - people like Jenette Conde who took her kids out to the splash pad on Thursday to get a break from the summer heat.
“I love it, I think it’s a great place for the community and it’s a great place for my kids to go and play,” she said.
Smith-Sigman said the plaza is more than just a gathering place, it has also helped out the businesses in the area.
“Oh absolutely, there is a whole new resurgence,” she said.
A resurgence that has brought new business with it. New business like, The Good Spoon, a frozen yogurt shop run by Jason Jeffries and Sheena Wiseman, a married couple who moved to Caldwell about two years ago from a small town in Oregon.
“We didn’t expect it honestly, as successful as it has been,” Jeffries said. “We were fortunate enough to have this spot and be a part of it.”
Both of them said the events the plaza hosts are what really boosts business for them.
“It brings a lot of people to the plaza and that’s awesome for advertisement for us,” Wiseman said.
Smith-Sigman said that right now she’s working on bringing more restaurants into the plaza. Destination Caldwell’s goal is to get 10 restaurants in a few block radius of downtown.
As for a big first anniversary celebration, that’s scheduled for Saturday. The event is called Plaza Palooza, and it’s a Kids’ fair and water carnival. It starts at 11 a.m. and goes until 3 p.m. The event is free.
MORE EVENTS: Tuesdays on the Creek