BOISE -- Former Idaho legislator Steve Smylie and his friends were like thousands of Boise State football fans Saturday, tailgating before the Bronco home opener against Washington State.
“We decided that we would get together and have a BSU tailgate kickoff," said Smylie.
Worried about construction on the Broadway Bridge, the group settled on nearby Kristin Armstrong Municipal Park and paid the city nearly $140 to reserve picnic space months in advance.
“We had a great time and then headed over to the game at 8:30,” said Smylie.
But when they returned to the park after the game, many of the tailgaters were greeted with an unpleasant surprise.
“Several of us had our vehicles towed,” said Smylie. “I noticed there was a tow truck off to the side and there was a white pickup that looked a lot like mine that was all smashed in. And I said, ‘hold it, that is my pickup.’”
Boise Valley Towing Company took full responsibility for the damage and has agreed to cover all of Smylie's repair costs and to waive his impounding fee. But the others were out of luck.
“There is nothing you can do, you have to give the money and it was $179.21, something like that. It was quite a bit of money,” said Smylie.
“The contractor that did the towing, they did what they were under contract to do. So, unfortunately there’s not a lot we could do about that,” said Doug Holloway, Director of Boise Parks and Recreation.
Holloway says all of Boise's city parks close after sundown, including the parking lots. But for years, the city has made an exception to the rule for Boise State football games, allowing tailgaters at Julia Davis Park until 3 a.m. to remove their cars.
“We just assumed that the same policies would apply [at Kristin Armstrong Municipal Park]. We just assumed wrong,” said Smylie.
The reservation documents for Smylie’s group did show that the park closed at 9 p.m. But Holloway admits his office could've done more to make that clear.
“Because we felt like we could’ve communicated a little bit better we did refund the reservation fee that they had for their tailgating party,” said Holloway.
Moving forward, the city is also revising its game day policies to include more parks.
“We’re going to also make Ann Morrison and also Kristin Armstrong Municipal Park part of that 3 a.m. moratorium,” said Holloway. “If it's a game day, it's a Boise State football game, you're okay to have your car in the park after dark.”